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Shelby Lifts Blanket Hold On Obama Nominees

February 9, 2010 - by Eric Naing

When we last checked in on Sen. Richard Shelby [R, AL], he had placed a blanket hold on all of President Obama’s pending nominees. This week, the hold ensnaring most of those nominees has been lifted.

Shelby, as you recall, was angry because two earmarks that could mean billions for Alabama were in jeopardy. Yesterday, Shelby’s office released a statement confirming that most of the holds had been lifted:

The purpose of placing numerous holds was to get the White House’s attention on two issues that are critical to our national security – the Air Force’s aerial refueling tanker acquisition and the FBI’s Terrorist Device Analytical Center (TEDAC). With that accomplished, Sen. Shelby has decided to release his holds on all but a few nominees directly related to the Air Force tanker acquisition.

President Obama’s nomination woes are far from over, however, as Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] yesterday announced that he would not only oppose but also vote to filibuster Craig Becker, the president’s nominee to the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB monitors union elections and deals with employment disputes. Becker, a former Service Employees International Union lawyer, is seen by many conservatives as being overly supportive of union causes.

Sen. Nelson echoed this concern:

Mr. Becker’s previous statements strongly indicate that he would take an aggressive personal agenda to the NLRB, and that he would pursue a personal agenda there, rather than that of the Administration. This is of great concern, considering that the Board’s main responsibility is to resolve labor disputes with an even and impartial hand.

The cloture vote on Becker’s nomination is expected later today in the Senate. With Nelson voting to filibuster, not to mention Sen. Scott Brown [R, MA], Democrats will have a tough time finding the 60 votes needed to advance the nomination.

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