Senate

Sen. Johanns says NLRB decisions 'tainted' by recess appointments

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) said Monday that he believes every decision made by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been "tainted" because President Obama recess-appointed three members to the board in January without the consent of the Senate, and while the Senate was not in a recess.

"Since January, every action taken by the board and its unconstitutionally-appointed members has been tainted, creating greater uncertainty for employers and additional costs for taxpayers," he said Monday. "The president's own Justice Department, in an understatement of the gravity of the situation, noted the issues surrounding these appointments 'create some litigation risk.' I believe they create much more than that."

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Cornyn: Dems trying to 'score cheap political points' with Violence Against Women Act

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) accused Democrats of trying to "score cheap political points" with the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, Cornyn wrote that some members of the Senate are turning the reauthorization of the legislation, S. 1925, into "partisan football" and trying to use it to raise campaign funds. 

The Senate plans to take up the bill right after it finishes work on a bill to reform the United States Postal Service. Democrats are hoping to take advantage of the reauthorization to hammer Republicans on women's issues and paint Senate Republicans as waging a "war on women."

Republicans are likely to vote against Democrats' reauthorization measure because of provisions included in it that extend special visas for illegal immigrants who are victims of abuse. It also extends protections to same-sex marriages.

"This is shameful. The law was enacted to protect and serve the interests of crime victims, not to help a political party fire up its base," Cornyn wrote in the op-ed. "Moreover, to argue that a minor policy disagreement indicates a lack of sensitivity toward battered women is simply beyond the pale."

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Monday: NLRB resolution in the Senate

The Senate meets at noon, and at 2 p.m. will begin two hours of debate on a Republican resolution disapproving of last year's rule from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) aimed at speeding up union elections.

Republicans have said the NLRB rule is unfair to companies, giving them less time to prepare for union elections. They won the right to debate and vote on their resolution, S.J.Res. 36, by getting 45 signatures on a petition that discharged it from committee.

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Senate hearings: MF Global, tax reform

Senate committees next week will take up MF Global and tax reform, among other issues.

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will meet Tuesday to see if there are any "lessons learned" from the MF Global collapse. And on Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee will discuss how tax reform might affect state and local tax policy.

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Reid announces deal to consider 39 postal bill amendments

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that the chamber had reached a compromise over which amendments would be voted on to add to the U.S. Postal Reform bill (S.1789) on Tuesday.

After spending most of Thursday negotiating which amendments would be considered, Reid announced that, with a 60-vote threshold, 39 amendments would be considered Tuesday to add to the bill. Reid also announced that there would be a final 60-vote threshold on the actual bill.

Most of the amendments under consideration are related to Postal Reform. A pair of them would end the service's monopoly on first-class mail and prohibit collective bargaining for union postal service employees, respectively. Another one would bar any reforms from closing postal service offices.

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