WASHINGTON, DC — Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) delivered the following remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives today in support of H.R. 1120, the Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act, of which he is a co-sponsor. The legislation would require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to cease all activity until the legal issues surrounding the legitimacy of President Obama’s so-called “recess appointments” to the board last year are resolved. It would also require a Senate-confirmed quorum to review all decisions made by the NLRB while the appointments were in question.
“This is about a Constitutional process that we are supposed to follow. This is about unconstitutional appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. That board, by the way, protects employers, management, and labor. It’s not just labor — let’s make sure we understand that.
“As we come here and do this posturing — no wonder the American people are losing faith in the way this body works.”
“This is not a Republican issue, or a Democrat issue. This is a not a board that is supposed to be made up of all Republicans or all Democrats, but it is supposed to be Constitutionally appointed. … These are unconstitutional appointments.”
“This is a president who always [says] … ‘If you follow the rules, and you work really hard, in this country you have a chance to make it.’ But the little footnote is, ‘…unless you don’t agree with me, and then I’ll go ahead and do it the way I want to do it, even though I’m a professor of Constitutional law — put that aside, I know an end-run on this.’”
“This is a process that we have to protect. This is not a political football to go back and forth with. This about fairness — fairness is not a Republican issue, or a Democrat issue, it’s an American issue.”
“[President Obama’s appointments] have been found unconstitutional. … Three things are certain regarding the board’s current decisions: ‘Those decisions cannot be relied upon, every losing party will be justified in filing an appeal, and no prevailing party can be assured that they will ever benefit from any Board-ordered remedy.’
“How do you fix it? Take it to the Senate – go ahead, run it through the process it’s supposed to run through, get them appointed the right way, and then go forward. Isn’t that the American way? I’m not talking about a Republican way … I’m not talking about a Democrat way. What’s best for the country?
“This political posturing is ridiculous. We know what the law is here, we know what the process is, and we know what the Constitution says. And to be here today making it about something else? This is not about class warfare. This is about denying the process.”
Note: On January 4, 2012, President Obama made three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) while the U.S. Senate was in pro forma session. These appointments were unprecedented — no other U.S. president has ever circumvented the Constitutionally-mandated nomination process in this manner. On January 25, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously held that these appointments violated the Constitution. This decision throws into question the more than 600 NLRB decisions made since January 2012.