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GOP senator proposes bill that would freeze NLRB rules, decisions

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Jan. 29, 2013: Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., holds up a bill he plans to introduce that would forestall any new National Labor Relations Board rules or regulations. (AP)

Republican Sen. John Barrasso introduced legislation Wednesday that would freeze or overturn virtually every decision the National Labor Relations Board has made in the past year.

The move comes after a federal appeals court ruled that President Obama exceeded his constitutional authority by making appointments to the NLRB when the Senate was on a break last year.

“Until we have a final resolution from the courts, the NLRB should not be able to issue or enforce decisions that will create even more confusion and illegitimate regulations,” Barrasso, R-WY, said. “My bill will restore clarity, order and respect for the U.S. Constitution.”

If the court ruling stands, the NRLB would have just one valid appointee left which would bring deciding any labor cases to a screeching halt. At least three members are needed for a quorum. Barrasso’s bill, though unlikely to clear the Democratically-controlled Senate, would aim to halt a range of decisions and regulations dealing with everything from how social media is used by union members to union dues.

Chief Judge David Sentelle said in his ruling that allowing the president’s power to remain unchecked would give the executive branch “free rein to appoint his desired nominees at any time he pleases, whether that time be a weekend, lunch, or even when the Senate is in session and he is merely displeased with its inaction.” He added, “This cannot be the law.”

The NLRB issued a statement following Friday’s ruling saying that it would continue to operate normally until the legal issues surrounding the recess appointments are resolved.

The White House is expected to appeal the verdict.