Despite filibuster deal, questions remain on NLRB

The devil, as they say, is in the details. It’s easy to forget in the face of larger-than-life scandals (Benghazi, IRS targeting, improper and runaway spending in federal agencies) that the small, underreported, and incremental chipping away at free-market values is what may get us to what many fear the most: the irreversible intrusion of the federal government into the very machinery of our economy.

Media has begun buzzing — as much buzz as they can muster over what are mostly perceived as tiny earthquakes — about President Obama making two new nominations to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). As Josh Gerstein at Politico reports:

A developing deal to break an impasse over President Barack Obama’s nominations to the National Labor Relations Board may head off proposed changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules but it seems unlikely to scuttle a Supreme Court showdown over Obama’s authority to use his recess appoinment power to fill longstanding vacancies in the executive branch and the courts.

The justices announced last month that they had granted the Obama Administration’s petition to review a case in which the D.C. Circuit sharply limited the president’s recess appointment authority, invalidating three appointments he made to the labor panel last year during a period when the Senate was convening every three days and maintained it was not in recess under its rules.

Others are less forgiving, arguing that Obama is attempting to pack an agency that is an anti-business, pro-union operation masquerading as a watchdog for ‘labor issues’” with union flaks and Democrat shills. RedState even compares the effort to FDR’s attempt to expand the Supreme Court and then pack it with justices favorable to his New Deal.

Essentially, Obama struck a deal with Republicans that has Democrats allowed up-or-down votes on seven nominations to the NLRB and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, while agreeing that the recess appointments currently under review by the Supreme Court are no longer in play.

One dangling thread is whether or not the new appointees will try to simply ratify what the outgoing recess appointees have done. So the issue is far from resolved. In fact, it may just be heating up. Because the recess appointments have directed the public attention to the Board, a new site — NLRBTruth — has cropped up with the intention of proving that the ”Obama Administration bypassed Congress in order to stack the NLRB with Big Labor supporters who have betrayed [the agency’s] core values [of independence and fairness].”

And that’s a nice thing to have because Obama’s statement during his new appointee nominations announcement yesterday was troubling:

“I’m pleased that the Senate took action today to move forward on the nominees who have waited far too long for a vote,” he said. Over the last two years, I’ve nominated leaders to fill important positions required to do the work of the American people, only to have those positions remain unfilled — not because the nominees were somehow unqualified, but for purely political reasons.”

He’s continuing to blame others for his own tendency to play the game of politics at the expense of things that would actually benefit the country — the creation of jobs and a loosening of the bureaucratic grip on the free-market. And that should be watched and documented.

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