Obama appoints an SEIU man with ties to Blago.
One of Big Labor’s priorities in Washington is to place allies in key government jobs where they can overturn existing labor policy without battles in Congress. This is a very good reason for the Senate to hold a hearing on the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Mr. Becker is associate general counsel at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is most recently in the news for its close ties to Acorn, the disgraced housing shakedown operation. President Obama nominated Mr. Becker in April to the five-member NLRB, which has the critical job of supervising union elections, investigating labor practices, and interpreting the National Labor Relations Act. In a 1993 Minnesota Law Review article, written when he was a UCLA professor, Mr. Becker argued for rewriting current union-election rules in favor of labor. And he suggested the NLRB could do this by regulatory fiat, without a vote of Congress.
Yet now that he could soon have the power to act on this conviction, Mr. Becker won’t tell Congress if this is what he still believes. In written responses to questions from Republican Orrin Hatch, Mr. Becker promised only to “maintain an open mind about whether [his] suggestions should be implemented in any manner.” That sounds like his mind is made up but he won’t admit it lest it hurt his confirmation.
Mr. Becker also won’t give a clear answer about his role in preparing several pro-labor executive orders issued by President Obama shortly after inauguration. Mr. Becker’s name was found in at least one of the documents, suggesting that he had written it.
When asked by Sen. Hatch if he was “involved or responsible in any way” for these executive orders, Mr. Becker responded: “I was not responsible for [the specific executive orders] except as described below. As a member of the Presidential Transition Team, I was asked to provide advice and information concerning a possible executive order of the sort described. I was involved in researching, analyzing, preliminary drafting, and consulting with other members of the Transition team.” In other words, Mr. Becker was the main author but would rather not say so explicitly.
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By SEAN HIGGINS, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY
Prodded by Big Labor, House Democrats are rising up against Senate Democrats’ efforts to pay for President Obama’s health care overhaul in part via a tax on high-end insurance plans.
A total of 157 House Democrats — over 60% of the party’s 256-member caucus — sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Wednesday announcing their opposition to the tax.
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who organized the petition, said the tax would hurt too many middle-class people in addition to the wealthier people it is intended to hit.
“This would have an impact far wider than just the Paris Hiltons of the world,” Courtney told reporters Wednesday.
Their move creates the latest snag in the already-troubled efforts to pass a health care bill this year. Democratic leaders are struggling to balance various factions in crafting legislation. Now Big Labor is making its demands as well.
The Senate Finance Committee, led by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., last week included a 40% tax on insurance plans that would cost families more than $21,000 a year or individuals more than $8,000. The threshold would increase by 1% above inflation each year.
The thresholds would move to $26,000 and $9,850 respectively for people more than 55 years old and those in high-risk professions.
The tax would fall on insurers, but they would almost certainly pass that on to customers in the form of higher premiums.
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