House panel passes bill to temporarily shutdown NLRB

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce passed a bill today on a 23-15 vote to require the National Labor Relations Board to cease all activity until the question of whether it has a legal quorum to act is resolved by the Supreme Court.

According to a statement by the committee, the bill would require the NLRB “to cease all activity that requires a three member quorum. The bill also prohibits the board from enforcing any action taken after January 2012 or making any interagency appointments that require a quorum.”  The bill “does not prevent the NLRB regional offices from accepting and processing unfair labor practice charges filed by an injured party – worker, employer, or union.”

The bill was a symbolic gesture on the part of House Republicans. It is unlikely to get any traction in the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority.

The legal status of the NLRB has been in doubt since an Appeals Court ruled in January that three of President Obama’s recess appointees made to the court in January 2012 were unconstitutional. That meant the five-member board has had only one legally-appointed member for the last 14 months — not enough for a quorum. That in turn threw every action the NLRB had made in the last year into doubt.

Earlier this month, the NLRB officially asked the Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

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Sean Higgins

Senior Writer
The Washington Examiner