Obama Names Becker, 14 Others as Recess Appointees

Posted March 27, 2010 at 2:17pm

Updated: 5:11 p.m.

President Barack Obama named 15 recess appointees Saturday, saying he could no longer allow “months of Republican obstruction” to prevent the filling of key administration jobs. The appointees included Craig Becker, a controversial nominee for the National Labor Relations Board.

The appointments mark the first time Obama has made a recess appointment, circumventing the Senate confirmation process. The appointees will be able to serve until the end of next year — and longer if the Senate confirms their appointments before then.

In making the appointments, Obama said, “The United States Senate has the responsibility to approve or disapprove of my nominees. But if, in the interest of scoring political points, Republicans in the Senate refuse to exercise that responsibility, I must act in the interest of the American people and exercise my authority to fill these positions on an interim basis.”

Conservatives have been particularly opposed to Becker, who serves as associate general counsel to both the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said: “This is a purely partisan move that will make a traditionally bipartisan labor board an unbalanced agenda-driven panel.”

But Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) praised the president’s move and said Obama administration nominations “have fared worse” in the Senate, thanks to GOP obstructionism, “than any other nominees in recent history.”