Adding to the already intense politicking of the 2012 presidential race, Republicans have found yet another reason to criticize President Obama’s leadership while receiving high praise from pro-labor groups.
Two days before Congress dismissed for the 2011 winter holidays, President Obama appointed three new members to the National Labor Relations Board which allows the NLRB to have continuous operation. Many House and Senate Republicans have already severely criticized Obama for these recess appointment, claiming that the appointments were not only legally questionable but are also “egregious” attempts to circumvent Senate approval of the new members.
The NLRB has become the unlikely pinnacle of political controversy over the past year due to the NLRB general counsel’s complaint against Boeing that temporarily stopped Boeing’s attempt to establish a production line in South Carolina. Republicans attacked the complaint claiming that it could potentially cost essential job creation in the state.
With his recess appointment, Obama has opened up a can of worms that will certainly prove to be fodder for the 2012 GOP presidential candidates, as well as potentially becoming a major campaign point of his own. The move is seen by many pro-labor groups and unions as protecting the labor rights of everyday Americans. These groups view the appointments as Obama taking control of his executive powers to help get the economy back on track. Explaining his decision Obama said, “”the American people deserve to have qualified public servants fighting for them every day – whether it is to enforce new consumer protections or uphold the rights of working Americans. We can’t wait to act to strengthen the economy and restore security for our middle class and those trying to get in it.”
2012 has barely started and the NLRB is quickly gaining a reputation among Republicans of being bad for business-both economically and politically. As the presidential race heats up, the next group to weigh in on Obama’s decisions will be the everyday Americans the NLRB is designed to protect. Public opinion could go either way, but the White House and congressional Republicans have already stated battle terms for the coming year in labor law.
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