Senate approves five NLRB nominees

July 30, 2013 at 7:39 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to confirm five executive branch nominees to the National Labor Relations Board.

The votes were carried out as part of a deal in which Senate Republicans agreed to abandon filibusters on some Obama administration nominees in return for Democrats' agreement not to deploy the so-called nuclear option -- a change in Senate rules subject most issues to a simple majority vote.

Tuesday's vote confirming the nominations of Harry Johnson III, Philip Miscimarra, Nancy Schiffer, Kent Hirozawa and Mark Pearce means the NLRB will have a quorum and will be able to conduct business after Aug. 27, when Pearce's term as chairman of the board expires, The Hill reported.

Pearce, Schiffer and Hirosawa are Obama appointees. Johnson and Miscimarra were selected by Republicans.

In exchange for getting an vote on the nominations, Obama agreed to withdraw the nominations of Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, who had been recess appointments to the NLRB before a federal court ruled the recess appointments had violated the U.S. Constitution.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said the confirmation votes Tuesday mean the NLRB will have a full complement of members for the first time in more than 10 years.

"Because of the bipartisan deal that was reached on the president's nominees, it looks like we finally have a path forward to fully confirm the National Labor Relations Board," Harkin said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., voted against Schiffer and Hirozawa, saying they do not meet the standard of "fairness and impartiality."

Schiffer formerly served as associate general counsel to the AFL-CIO. Hirozawa was chief counsel to Pearce.

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