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If the Senate doesn't act quickly—as in before August 5, when they go on recess—on President Obama's new nominations to the National Labor Relations Board, the board will lose the quorum it requires to function and go dark before the Senate returns from recess. To avoid that, as Joan McCarter reported, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, will be moving quickly on nomination hearings for Nancy Schiffer and Kent Hirozawa, the two new nominees. Schiffer is a former associate general counsel at the AFL-CIO and Hirozawa is chief general counsel to NLRB Chair Mark Gaston Pearce.

Schiffer and Hirozawa's nominations come as part of a filibuster deal, with Republicans having continued to insist that they could not possibly be expected to vote for Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, NLRB members on recess appointments that had been overturned by two federal appeals courts. Of course, Republicans agreed to confirm Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, even though he was recess-appointed at the same time and under the same circumstances as Block and Griffin, but never mind that. They hadn't managed to get his recess appointment to the right court, so they get to pretend like it's something different.

In any case, while it's a load of bull that Republicans got to block Block and Griffin basically because they hate the NLRB as a body dedicated to upholding labor law and didn't want pro-worker members, Schiffer and Hirozawa are solid candidates. This is not a deal where Republicans got to replace good nominees with crappy ones, so there's that. Additionally, Republicans won't block another NLRB nomination in 2014.

Assuming Republicans stick to the deal and Schiffer and Hirozawa are confirmed, the NLRB will not only continue to be able to operate, but should be able to begin to move past the delays created by court cases over Block and Griffin's recess appointments.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jul 17, 2013 at 07:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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