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Shelby's blanket holds on pending nominees has apparently been lifted, just in time for Ben Nelson to step up to the plate and announce that he will join the Republican filibuster of Craig Becker's nomination to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Senate Democratic leaders needed the help of their entire 59-vote caucus, plus one Republican defector, to invoke cloture this Tuesday on Becker's nomination, which has awaited a full Senate vote since the summer of 2009. But Nelson's decision to oppose the White House's top candidate for the job seriously threatens those plans, as it now appears Democrats will not have the votes they need to proceed as intended this week.

Nelson outlined his objections to Becker's nomination in a statement issued late Monday, stressing he felt the former AFL-CIO lawyer would "take an aggressive personal agenda to the NLRB, and that he would pursue a personal agenda there, rather than that of the Administration.”

“This is of great concern, considering that the Board’s main responsibility is to resolve labor disputes with an even and impartial hand," Nelson added. "In addition, the nominee’s statements fly in the face of Nebraska’s Right to Work laws, which have been credited in part with our excellent business climate that has attracted employers and many good jobs to Nebraska. Considering these matters, I will oppose the upcoming cloture motion and the nomination.”

....

[T]he move could also carry significant implications for the NLRB itself, currently embroiled in a Supreme Court crisis that could render it temporarily unable to adjudicate labor disputes.

Only two members sit on the all-important panel -- Chairwoman Wilma Liebman, a Democratic appointee, and Peter Schaumber, a Republican appointee. The lack of a quorum has ultimately prompted the nation's high bench to question whether it should continue operating without additional members.

Because you don't want anyone who is pro-labor actually on the National Labor Relations Board, or even for labor disputes to be heard.

Thanks again, DNC, for stepping up to protect Ben Nelson with those anti-HCR ads. How's that half a million investment in defending him, when he's not even up for re-election this year, working out for you?

Update: On Shelby's holds, they are not all lifted, with some critical military nominations still held hostage.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Feb 08, 2010 at 06:00 PM PST.

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