The ‘will of the Senate’

THE ‘WILL OF THE SENATE’…. The Senate voted yesterday on Craig Becker’s nomination to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. There was no doubt about his qualifications, but conservatives don’t like unions, and Becker has spent his adult life working to protect the interests of America’s workers. As a result, Republicans did what they always do — they launched a filibuster.

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted to end debate and make a decision on the nomination. A total of 52 senators supported Becker, while 33 were opposed (several senators missed the vote due to a blizzard). Because madness has begun overcoming our political system, when the vote is 52 to 33, the 33 votes win.

Knowing that a recess appointment is a distinct possibility, Republicans immediately began calling on the White House to resist the temptation. One senator was especially amusing.

Republicans immediately called on Mr. Obama not to place Mr. Becker on the board in that fashion.

“I sincerely hope the White House does not circumvent the will of the Senate by appointing him when the Senate is out of session,” Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, said.

Think about that. Hatch wants the president to respect the “will of the Senate” — which means listening to the 33-vote minority and ignoring the 52-vote majority.

For what it’s worth, President Obama seems to be warming up to using recess appointments, a step he has not yet had to take. At a press briefing yesterday, the president said:

“Surely we can set aside partisanship and do what’s traditionally been done to confirm these nominations. If the Senate does not act — and I made this very clear — if the Senate does not act to confirm these nominees, I will consider making several recess appointments during the upcoming recess, because we can’t afford to allow politics to stand in the way of a well-functioning government.”

At this point, I’d be more surprised if the president didn’t make some recess appointments next week.