The Week That Was -- January 6, 2012
The dangerous federal regulatory deamon popped its ugly head out again in Washington this week when the White House appointed Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and installed three people to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Chamber used its powerful voice in the halls of Congress and in the media to ensure that this overeach didn't go unnoticed. Regarding the Cordray appointment, Tom Donohue was quoted saying, “This controversial appointment is unprecedented, constitutionally questionable, and puts the authority of the director and the validity of the bureau’s work in legal jeopardy." Meanwhile, Bruce Josten, executive vice president of Government Affairs, was quoted in reports being critical of the NLRB appointments. He said, “Today’s steps will simply further poison the well with regard to labor-management issues pending in front of the board and on Capitol Hill.” This is The Week That Was…
- Following his unprecedented display of executive power in appointing Richard Cordray to head a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Fox News quoted Tom Donohue saying that, “This controversial appointment is unprecedented, constitutionally questionable, and puts the authority of the director and the validity of the bureau’s work in legal jeopardy.” Donohue was also quoted in reports appearing in The Hill, The New York Times, CNN, and POLITICO, among others. Additionally, National Journal, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg, and Reuters, quoted David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness.
- President Obama also used constitutionally questionable recess appointments to install three of his picks to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Bruce Josten, executive vice president of Government Affairs, was quoted in Reuters saying, “Today’s steps will simply further poison the well with regard to labor-management issues pending in front of the board and on Capitol Hill.” The Wall Street Journal also quoted Josten saying the NLRB’s credibility already has suffered because of “an aggressive agenda favoring unions.”
- The NLRB adopted portions of its contentious union election rule that will reduce litigation on union elections by limiting testimony at regional hearings and consolidating appeals of regional director decisions into one post-election review request. “This rule has no conceivable purpose but to make it easier for unions to win elections,” said Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, in a statement picked up by The Hill.
- The U.S. Chamber and other business groups sued the NLRB over the employee rights notification rule, maintaining that it violates federal labor and regulatory laws, as well as First Amendment rights. Randy Johnson was quoted in POLITICO saying, “At a time when the private sector is striving to create desperately needed new jobs, it is disappointing to see that the NLRB is imposing new and unnecessary regulations on employers.”
- The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform released its Top Ten list of Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2011. ILR President Lisa Rickard’s statement was quoted widely in reports including one in The Orange County Register. She said, “While these lawsuits vary from the outrageous to the humorous, abusive litigation is hardly a laughing matter. ILR’s annual poll of ridiculous lawsuits helps to remind us that abusive lawsuits affect real people and real businesses, and can have harmful results to lives, jobs, and even our economic growth.”
- A front page story in USA Today said that despite concerns over recent violence and the American troop withdrawal in Iraq, U.S. investment and other business in the country quadrupled in 2011. Lionel Johnson, vice president of Middle East and North Africa Affairs, said, “The U.S. has lagged up to this point because of a perception almost more than anything else that it was a dangerous place, an unstable place.” The Chamber was prominently noted in the report for working to encourage American investment in Iraq.