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HELP Approves Controversial Labor Nominee

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved a controversial Labor Department nominee Thursday, setting off a partisan fight that might not even reach the floor.

HELP members voted 13-10 along party lines in favor of Craig Becker’s nomination to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. Republicans opposed the nomination, arguing Becker could abuse his position to enact provisions in the controversial “card check” bill, which allows unions to organize through a petition process.

A spokesman for Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who will be sworn into office later on Thursday, said Brown wanted to be sworn in this week so he could vote on a handful of pending nominations, and Becker’s nomination may be among them. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will almost certainly have to try to overcome a GOP filibuster to bring Becker’s nomination to the floor. With Brown’s arrival. Brown gives the Republicans 41 votes, enough to sustain a filibuster.

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