Chairman Kline Holds Unprecedented Hearing That is Not Unprecedented

John Kline (R-MN-02), Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, issued a press release announcing a Congressional hearing to examine the “Unprecedented NLRB Recess Appointments” made recently by President Obama.

As the Wall Street Journal described, the hearing as either “a waste of time” or “instructive” depending upon your viewpoint … the Chairman had one veiwpoint while others saw things differently.

Well, actually, it might be more appropriate too call a hearing on Chairman Kline’s vision for No Child Left Behind reform “unprecedented” since the Chairman still is finalizing the legislation (although with the Chamber of Commerce and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education Coalition expressing disappointment maybe focusing on NLRB will make the Chairman feel productive.)

Holding a hearing regarding the National Labor Relations Board seems to be a regular occurrence for Chairman Kline … six on NLRB and zero on NCLB (as his Student Success Act and Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act are still in the drafting stage.)

The complaint from the Chairman is that the recess appointments are “going to cause difficulties throughout our economy.”
The reason?
In the coming months, businesses will struggle over whether board decisions are legitimate and should be followed, he said, citing witness testimony on behalf of employers.

Hmmmm … except, recess appointments are not unprecedented … certainly not during the years that John Kline has served in Congress … for example, using the Recess Clause, President George W. Bush appointed to the National Labor Relations Board :
– Ronald E. Meisburg (R) served under recess appointment by President Bush starting 01/12/04
– Peter C. Schaumber (R) served under recess appointment by President Bush starting 9/1/05
– Peter N. Kirsanow (R) served under recess appointment by President Bush starting 01/04/06
– Dennis P. Walsh (D) serving under recess appointment by President Bush starting 01/17/06

This was not an unusual practice for President Bush as he also did this prior to John Kline being elected to Congress in 2002 ( Peter J. Hurtgen (R) served under recess appointment by President Bush starting 8/31/01; Michael J. Bartlett (R) served entire term under recess appointment by President Bush starting 01/22/02; and William B. Cowen (R) served entire term under recess appointment by President Bush starting 01/22/02).
Yep, President Bush routinely appointed Republicans and Democrats to the NRLB … but now the Chairman has concerns.

The need for the recess appointments is clear … because of the expiration of a member’s term at the end of December, without these appointments the NLRB would not have had enough members to form a quorum and, as a result would effectively shutdown. The Senate has a Advice and Consent responsibility however with the Senate purposely failing to act, the President took the responsible action to keep the NLRB manned. The House has no Constitutional responsibility … but the Chairman clearly has a partisan concern. Thus, Chairman Kline’s House Education and the Workforce Committee Republicans held their 6th hearing attacking the National Labor Relations Board.

Representative George Miller (D-CA-07), the committee’s top Democrat, suggested the debate was an attack on the National Labor Relations Board, saying “Today is just another legislative day dedicated to divisive issues. It’s not about working together to find solutions to real problems.”

As previously noted, last week, Chairman Kline held a hearing entitled “Expanding Opportunities for Job Creation” with invited guests Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, who urged members of the committee to work together on job creation and put divisive issues aside. The governors agreed that there are ways to help create jobs in their states, including increased investments in infrastructure, and workforce training. “We waste too much time fighting about things instead of finding common ground,” Snyder said.
The political fights over the past year that have driven the federal government both to the brink of shutdown and default do not serve the country well,” Malloy said asking for an end to gridlock.

Representative Miller gets it … Chairman Kline continues to “waste time” leading a “Do Nothing” House, instead of “working together to find solutions to real problems.”

The Republicans have some reasonable members on the committee — such as Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05), Judy Biggert (R-IL-13), Todd Russell Platts (R-PA-19) — but Chairman Kline proves to be unyielding, partisan and driven to ignore the Education scope of the committee and instead using the committee as a basis for continued attacks on union workers while ignoring pleas from Republican and Democrat Governors.

What would be Unprecedented would be for Chairman Kline to turn his attention to Student’s needs … but it’s only February, eventually, he will have to do something … right ? After all, won’t he have to answer to parents during his re-election campaign ? ? ? You know … “Johnny, what did you do for schools last term ?”

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