Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) today supported legislation to address the legal chaos surrounding the President's unconstitutional recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act (H.R. 1120) orders the NLRB to cease and desist on all actions that require a full quorum until the entire board is confirmed by the Senate.
The Act prevents the Board from implementing, administering or enforcing any decisions finalized on or after January 4, 2012. The bill passed by a vote of 219-209.
Congressman Smith: "The President should have sought Senate approval of the NLRB appointments. Instead, he disregarded the Constitution and made recess appointments when the Senate was not in recess.
"Because of his unconstitutional actions, decisions by the NLRB are not only questionable, they are legally unenforceable. This bill was necessary to stop the NLRB from taking action until all members of the Board have been confirmed by the Senate."
On January 4, 2012, the White House appointed three individuals to the NLRB using the recess appointment authority to bypass congressional approval of the nominees. But the Senate was not actually in recess, which raised questions about the constitutionality of the White House's appointments. The Senate has a constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on certain presidential nominees. In a letter to the Justice Department, then-House Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith expressed concern that the appointments would lead to uncertainty over the legality of any actions taken by the NLRB while the appointees remained in their positions.
Earlier this year, the appointments were struck down by a federal appellate court in Washington, D.C. In the wake of the decision, legal uncertainly around the Board has increased. The Administration plans to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.