Sen. Rand Paul channels Obama, calls on Congress to pass NLRB bill now

Republican senators on Wednesday called for a vote on legislation meant to counter the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) complaint against Boeing for allegedly retaliating against union workers.

At a press conference, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took a similar tone to President Obama during his jobs speech last week, pounding the dais and imploring that lawmakers pass the legislation. Paul was among seven Republican senators to push for passage of a bill that would curb the labor board’s legal authority.

“I have a message for the president. If you are for job creation, you can’t be against the job creators,” Paul said. “I have got another message for the president. We have got a bill here that will help solidify a thousand jobs in South Carolina. Pass it now.”

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The NLRB has been a hot political issue, especially in conservative circles, ever since the board took issue with Boeing’s decision to launch a production line for its new 787 Dreamliner jet in South Carolina, a right-to-work state that limits union membership. Boeing did so after company executives expressed worries about work stoppages at their unionized operations in the state of Washington. The NLRB decided Boeing launched the new plant in South Carolina to punish the union workers in Washington, and filed a complaint.

Under the complaint, Boeing would be required to maintain its production line in Washington. It does not ask the company to close its facility in South Carolina.

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) would prohibit the NLRB from ordering any company to relocate its employees. The House is expected to vote on the bill Thursday, but it faces an unclear path in the Senate.

GOP senators attending the press conference promised to clog up the Senate until action was taken on the NLRB complaint.

“If you name a post office, you’re going be talking about the NLRB,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “This is huge in my state, to our state. This is huge to the country.”

Graham, a key endorsement still up for the grabs in the 2012 Republican presidential race, said GOP candidates need to be talking about this issue not just in South Carolina but in other states around the country.

“And if this is not an issue in the 2012 election, Republican Party, shame on you,” Graham said. “We need to take this fight to the streets and have a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”