Senate votes to end debate on NLRB nominee

After Hirozawa, the nominations of Nancy Schiffer and Mark Pearce to join the NLRB will follow.

More than 10 Republicans voted with Democrats to advance Hirozawa's nomination.

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Republicans agreed to hold up-or-down votes on President Obama’s NLRB nominations as part of a deal to avoid Senate rule changes limiting the minority's right to filibuster executive branch nominees.

As part of the deal, Obama had to withdraw the nominations of Sharon Block and Richard Griffin to the NLRB. Block and Griffin were recess appointments to the labor board, but their appointments were ruled unconstitutional in federal court and drew fierce opposition from Republicans.

Votes are also expected later this week on two GOP picks to the NLRB — Harry Johnson III and Philip Miscimarra. Schiffer, Pearce and Hirozawa are Obama’s nominees.

“For first time in three years the Senate is poised to confirm members of the National Labor Relations Board,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said ahead of the vote. “I’m glad the Senate is moving forward as agreed to confirm five nominees.”

Democrats wanted to ensure vacancies on the board were filled before the August recess because on Aug. 27, Pearce’s term as NLRB chairman was set to end, meaning the board wouldn’t have had a quorum to rule on decisions. 

The NLRB settles labor disputes within the United States and protects workers’ rights. Hirozawa served as chief counsel to Pearce before being nominated.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 13-9 to advance the nominations of Schiffe and Hirozawa last week — the committee cleared the other three in May.