The National Labor Relations Board may be poised to issue its revised “quickie” election case rules before NLRB Member Nancy Schiffer’s term expires on December 16, 2014 (see Expect NLRB Whirlwind before Schiffer Leaves).
But the revised election rules could be short-lived. After the Republicans have gained a majority the Senate in the midterm elections, it is a good bet that Congress will move to block implementation of the rules come January.
Congress could stymie them with a rider to the NLRB’s fiscal 2015 budget, similar to past attempted riders. (In 2012, the House Appropriations Committee proposed a rider to the NLRB’s budget that would have prohibited the Board from enforcing its notice posting rule.) Now that both Houses of Congress are Republican-controlled, a similar rider to deprive the NLRB of funds to implement or enforce the new election rule changes is possible and more likely to be successful than past attempts. Indeed, according to an October 18, 2014, article in The Economist, “Mitch McConnell, the new Majority Leader in the Senate, has set out how a new majority might be used. In a speech to donors that was leaked, he said: ‘We own the budget.’ Republicans would use riders on spending bills to restrict the federal bureaucracy, he explained. ‘No money can be spent to do this or that. We’re going to go after them on health care, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board,’ he said.”
The article notes that this strategy could be thwarted by the Republicans’ lack of a “super-majority” of 60 Senators, and “it would take 60 votes to attach riders to run-of-the-mill spending bills, meaning that Democratic support would be needed.” Quoting former Republican Senator Judd Gregg, “[t]he game is to attach so many popular spending plans to a bill that some Democrats will back it . . .”