What Are the Policy Implications of the President’s Appointments? – AskHeritage

What Are the Policy Implications of the President’s Appointments? – AskHeritage.

Last week, President Barack Obama took the latest step on his road toward an arrogant, new authoritarianism with four illegal appointments that entirely trampled on the Constitution’s requirements. More troubling still, the President chose to shred the Constitution all in the name of serving his Big Labor agenda while killing jobs in the process.

The President’s actions once again gave voice to his animating view of governing: doing so is much easier when one isn’t constrained by the Constitution and its checks and balances. “We can’t wait,” the President exclaimed after unilaterally appointing Richard Cordray as director of the newly inaugurated Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). He also appointed three officials to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), two of whom had been nominated less than a month before.

The policy implications of the President’s appointments? The CFPB will now have unmitigated authority to issue regulation upon regulation, contributing to the already-crippling red tape that is strangling business in America. And the NLRB will have the power to advance the President’s agenda to bolster unions across the country at the expense of job growth in a smarting economy.

For what, exactly, can’t the President wait? Quite simply, constitutional republicanism — the system of checks and balances integral to American government and political freedom. He grew impatient with the delays that inevitably accompany any legislative action an acted outside the Constitution’s mandated process. But the American people should ask, “Is such action really preferable to a deliberative, if slower-moving, constitutional republic?”

The President’s appointments last week, troubling as they are, are but the next steps on the road to a despotic form of governance that has come to characterize his Administration — and all of liberalism in America today — what authors Fred Siegel and Joel Kotkin termed in City Journal this week Obama’s “New Authoritarianism.” Frustrated by the unwillingness of the people’s representatives to enact his agenda wholesale, Obama has, from early in his Administration, sought to enact a series of proposals through administrative fiat, not the legislative process:

  • The Democrat-controlled Senate rejected his cap-and-trade plan, so Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency classified carbon dioxide, the compound that sustains vegetative life, as a pollutant so that it could regulate it under the Clean Air Act.
  • After Congress defeated his stealth-amnesty immigration proposal, the DREAM Act, the Department of Homeland Security instructed Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to “adopt enforcement parameters that bring about the same ends as the DREAM Act,” as Heritage’s Mike Brownfield explained.
  • When the woefully misnamed Employee Free Choice Act–explicitly designed to bolster labor unions’ dwindling membership rolls–was defeated by Congress, the NLRB announced a rule that would implement “snap elections” for union representation, limiting employers’ abilities to make their case to workers and virtually guaranteeing a higher rate of unionization at the expense of workplace democracy.
  • After an innovation-killing Internet regulation proposal failed to make it through Congress, the Federal Communications Commission announced — on Christmas Eve, no less — that it would regulate the Web anyway, despite even a federal court’s ruling that it had no authority to do so.
  • In its push for national education standards, the Education Department decided to tie waivers for the No Child Left Behind law to requirements that states adopt those standards, shutting Congress out of the effort.
  • Rather than push Congress to repeal federal laws against marijuana use, the Department of Justice (DOJ) simply decided it would no longer enforce those laws.
  • DOJ made a similar move with respect to the Defense of Marriage Act: rather than seeking legislative recourse, DOJ announced it would stop enforcing the law.

While these efforts are all aimed at circumventing the legislative process, none was so brazen as his four illegal appointments. Last week, Obama went one step further: He violated not just the spirit of the Constitution, which vests in Congress the power to make laws, but the letter of the law as well.

The move is “a breathtaking violation of the separation of powers,” explain former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese and Heritage colleague Todd Gaziano, a former attorney in DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, in a Washington Post column. “[N]ever before has a president purported to make a ‘recess’ appointment when the Senate is demonstrably not in recess,” they note. “That is a constitutional abuse of a high order.”

Dr. Matthew Spalding, vice president of American Studies and director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics at The Heritage Foundation, explains that this “new despotism” — a government where regulations and unilateral actions replace republican governance — runs entirely counter to the Founders’ vision of America:

The greatest political revolution since the American Founding has been the shift of power away from the institutions of constitutional government to an oligarchy of unelected experts. They rule over virtually every aspect of our daily lives, ostensibly in the name of the American people but in actuality by the claimed authority of science, policy expertise, and administrative efficiency.

If this regime becomes the undisputed norm — accepted not only among the intellectual and political elites, but also by the American people, as the defining characteristic of the modern state — it could well mark the end of our great experiment in self-government.

President Obama’s actions are exactly the kind that the Founders feared and sought to guard against. His illegal appointments usurp power from the American people’s duly elected representatives, and the regulations they will promulgate will, undoubtedly, contribute to the unabated growth of the undemocratic administrative state.

Now that the President has crossed the threshold of constitutionality, there really is no telling where he may stop. There is a clear trend here, however, and it leads further and further from the constitutional order. With these illegal appointments, the President has taken to new heights his disdain for the separation of powers. Whether it will stop here depends on Congress — Will lawmakers of both parties reassert the legislature’s constitutional authority and take a stand against Obama’s arrogant new authoritarianism?


TIMMONS: The NLRB’s anti-jobs plan – Washington Times

TIMMONS: The NLRB’s anti-jobs plan – Washington Times.

Labor board forces rules on employers that wouldn’t pass Congress

By Jay Timmons- The Washington Times

A few unelected officials in downtown Washington are rapidly accomplishing what 535 men and women in Congress refused to do.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has launched an aggressive agenda and is well on its way to achieving the goals of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a wide-ranging bill that would have reshaped the labor system in the United States.

Although the EFCA was a priority of organized labor, it never won the approval of Congress – even when one party controlled the House, Senate and White House. But who needs Congress when an ideological agency is at the ready?

The NLRB has long been a lightning rod. It’s true the agency is independent. The board members don’t have to answer to the president. But the president puts them there, and they clearly can bring an agenda with them. With gridlock in Congress, the board can fill the breach left by the legislature and make policy that could never survive the democratic process.

Manufacturers got a sense of the current board when President Obama set off a nomination fight by naming Service Employees International Union (SEIU) lawyer Craig Becker to the board. Mr. Becker’s history of partiality derailed his confirmation chances. Prior to his nomination, he had advocated restrictions on employers’ rights, such as limits on their speech and ability to communicate with employees during representation campaigns, leading Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican, to describe him as “the most radical nominee to the NLRB in my experience in the Senate.” Mr. Becker couldn’t clear the Senate, but the president put him on the board through a recess appointment.

Including Mr. Becker, the NLRB is down to just three members – two Democrats, both appointed by President Obama, and one Republican. At full strength, the board comprises five members, three of the president’s party and two of the other party.

Mr. Becker’s recess appointment runs out at the end of the year, so the board could be reduced to just two members. That may explain all the recent action at the NLRB – the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that the board cannot render decisions if there are just two members.

So what has the board been doing? The short answer is that it’s putting jobs at risk by introducing uncertainty for job creators and potentially imposing new costs on employers. The more employers have to spend figuring out the new rules and complying with them, the less they can use to invest in their firms and hire new workers.

The NLRB is pushing the limits of its regulatory authority to upend our time-tested labor system. It recently finalized a 194-page rule to require employers to put up posters informing employees they have the right to organize. The NationalAssociationofManufacturers thinks the agency does not have the statutory authority to do this, and we have filed a lawsuit against the board. The proposed “ambush elections” rule would speed up the time from when a union files for an election and when the election is held. The measure contains a timeline – as few as 10 to 14 days – that would severely limit the period during which an employer could communicate with its employees prior to a union certification vote. It’s a matter of fairness – employees should have the ability to make an informed decision by hearing from both the union and the employer.

Majority rules on the board, and the board has issued several 3-1 decisions (the board’s fourth member recently retired) that will have a significant negative impact on employees and employers alike.

Its August decision in the SpecialtyHealthcare case reverses years of precedent and imposes new burdens on employers. The decision opens the door for the creation of multiple unions, with as few as two members, in a single workplace. Imagine a shop floor with employees represented by not one but multiple unions, and the resulting headaches and costs for employers, which would have to spend time and money negotiating with multiple parties.

In another ruling, the board said employees can’t challenge a union certification done through the card-check process even if a majority of employees don’t want to be represented.

All of these decisions and proposed rules will have an impact on manufacturers, particularly small businesses, which don’t have the resources needed to navigate the complex new processes. They will have to get up to speed, potentially at the expense of new jobs and investment. In fact, when the National Association of Manufacturers asked its members about the NLRB’s agenda, 69 percent said it will hurt job creation.

An easy way for President Obama to help businesses and create more certainty would be to stop the NLRB. This week, the National Association of Manufacturers, partnering with the National Federation of Independent Business, launched an ad campaign in several states calling on members of Congress to support the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act. This is a joint effort by small-business owners and manufacturers who are deeply concerned about the stark economic consequences of the NLRB’s actions.

Now is the time to stop these burdensome regulations and actions that threaten jobs and economic growth.

Jay Timmons is president of the National Association of Manufacturers.