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05_Latest News - February 2010

05_February 4, 2010
Labor Steaming Over Scott Brown's Early Seating
The Huffington Post by: Sam Stein


The labor community is fuming over the expedited plan to seat Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass) this Thursday afternoon, arguing that Democratic leadership is torpedoing one of its most important causes -- the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.

On Wednesday, Brown shocked political observers by announcing that he was asking Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to sign his election certification papers and that he would present those papers to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) the next day. The offices of Patrick and Reid, both Democrats, insist they have little institutional power to delay Brown's seating, even though the Massachusetts Republican initially pegged February 11th as his start date.

But the recriminations over granting Brown an early start date are already flying. Becker's nomination to join the NLRB was supposed to be considered while Democrats still had 60 votes. Party leadership had planned to hold a confirmation vote this week, multiple sources tell the Huffington Post.

But a series of delays, engineered primarily by Sen. John McCain (R-Ari.), pushed consideration back. And as things stand now, a full Senate vote on Becker will not take place before Brown is granted a vote -- leaving the nomination either completely dead or in deep peril.

"Democrats were outmaneuvered yet again," emailed a labor source who was granted anonymity to speak freely. "I'm used to us caving, but they didn't even [try to delay Brown's seating]. They just hit the mat.

"I love how we cave to the Republicans and won't seat our Senator, [Al] Franken. Then we reverse cave and seat their senator. I mean forget the analogy of one is playing checkers and the other playing chess. It's like one is playing chess while the other is sitting there picking their nose."

Leadership aides insist that, in this case, their hands are largely tied. "Once we get his certificate, we expect to swear him in tomorrow afternoon as early as 5 o'clock, which is earlier than he suggested," Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, told The Hill.




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