LL: Did the President avoid the Constitutionally mandated Senate Confirmation process? Did he circumvent the American People?
Rep. Issa: The Constitution delineates when the President can and cannot side-step the confirmation process with recess appointments. In venturing into territory where past Presidents of both parties have taken the opposite Constitutional interpretation, this President’s actions amount to a power grab that seeks to reshuffle our system of checks and balances.
LL: If legally challenged and the ruling in the President’s favor, does this set a precedent on the constitutional duty the Congress has to examine and check on executive power? Could any future President complete cut the Senate out of the confirmation process?
Rep. Issa: If the President’s action were to be upheld, it would clearly reshuffle long held beliefs about the separation of powers defined by our Constitution. It would be a step away from accountability and efforts to make Congress and the Executive Branch work better together.
LL: Did the President do this because he knew none of his appointees would have been confirmed?
Rep. Issa: The Senate really never had a chance to even consider these nominees before the President decided to ram them through. The appointments seem to be part of a strategy to pander to powerful special interests, in this case union bosses, in preparation for November’s elections. This decision was about politics, not policy.
LL: The appointments for the NLRB are all pro labor: Democratic union lawyer Richard Griffin, Democratic Labor Department official Sharon Block and Republican NLRB lawyer Terence Flynn. Do you think this board is balanced and will be objective enough to referee cases between the private-sector employers and employees?
Rep. Issa: There are already clear and systemic problems with the objectivity of NLRB. Our committee has seen e-mails where NLRB employees are quietly cheering among themselves for the interests of unions over non-union workers in disputes before the board. These appointments seem to send a message that the White House just doesn’t see a problem.
LL: Will you as Chairman call for investigation into the President nominations to see if he broken the Constitutional process?
Rep. Issa: The Committee is already investigating NLRB’s rogue behavior. The courts are ultimately going to have to make decisions about whether the President’s actions violated the Constitution.
LL: The President made the announcement on Thursday the recess appointment of NLRB. This move sidestepped the Senate approvals but there are legal authorities saying the GOP in the Senate used Pro Form sessions (a brief meeting on the floor of the Senate) to avoid recess. What do you think of the appointment?
Rep. Issa: Using Pro Forma Senate sessions to Constitutionally block appointments was something Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did during the Bush Administration and I don’t remember then Senator Barack Obama expressing any objections or concerns. This is an unprecedented and naked political maneuver that only adds to dysfunction in Washington.
LL: Bottom line is this just a sheer power play?
Rep. Issa: It’s actually much more damaging. These appointees are going to engage in decisions and rule-making that will almost certainly be questioned in courts as illegal and unenforceable.
This adds even more regulatory uncertainty for both workers and job creators, as even when NLRB settles a matter, there will be significant reason to doubt that their decision will be the final outcome. This is an example of the President inflating his election prospects at the expense of jobs and our economy.
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A Senior Talent Producer at CNBC, and author of "Thriving in the New Economy:Lessons from Today's Top Business Minds."