Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) is guilty of hypocrisy for voting against cloture for a labor board nominee, the AFL-CIO argued Tuesday.

The labor group went after Nelson for having declared his intention to vote against ending debate on the nomination of Craig Becker, a controversial, labor-backed pick to join the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

The group accused the Nebraska centrist of "nomination hypocrisy" in a memo released to reporters, which pointed to Nelson's stance during the Bush administration in which he maintained that presidential nominees deserve an up-or-down vote in the Senate.


"Senator Ben Nelson’s decision to join a Republican filibuster against President Obama’s nomination of Craig Becker to the NLRB is a shame and disappointment," the AFL-CIO memo said. "Senator Nelson’s decision to put politics over the needs of working families is exactly the Washington politics as usual the American public is tired of."

The Senate is expected to vote on cloture for Becker this afternoon, though Nelson's opposition, combined with Republicans' 41-vote bloc, makes it seem unlikely that Becker will pass the 60-vote threshold.

Still, the AFL-CIO memo on Nelson serves as a warning signal for other, fence-sitting Democrats on the nomination, who might be inclined to vote against the nomination since it won't pass anyway, but risk worsening already-tense relationships with labor groups.

And while labor groups have hardly signaled that they're willing to give up the fight over Becker, a strong showing on behalf of the NLRB nominee could give President Barack Obama some political cover to use a recess appointment to install Becker in the labor board spot, should the Senate fail to approve him.

Republicans and business groups, for their part, have sought to ramp up the pressure on centrist Democrats in the other direction, arguing that a vote for Becker is tantamount to a vote in favor of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA, or "card check"), a labor organizing bill opposed by the GOP and the business lobby.