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Hullabaloo


Thursday, March 10, 2011

 
Control Freaks

by digby

Someone in a position to know once told me that David Plouffe was a super control freak and it certainly looks like he's making his mark on the administration:

When House Republicans targeted the budget of the National Labor Relations Board last month, the agency shot back, warning that such cuts would force it to largely cease operations for an extended period of time, creating a backlog of thousands of cases.

It was one of the few counterattacks from the Obama administration, which was otherwise busy proposing its own cuts and endorsing the Republican call for slashing spending -- and it didn't last long. The White House demanded that the NLRB scrub the statement defending the agency from its website, an NLRB spokesperson told The Huffington Post.



Here's the problem:

Before the NLRB statement was taken down, Washington Post labor columnist Harold Meyerson used a piece of it in his column connecting the funding attack on the NLRB to the effort to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers in Wisconsin. "In a statement last Friday, NLRB Chairman Wilma Liebman and Chief Counsel Lafe Solomon wrote that it would require the board to furlough all of its 1,665 employees for 55 days between now and the end of the fiscal year. They estimated that it would increase by 18,000 the backlog of cases before the board," Meyerson wrote.

Reilly, the OMB spokeswoman, said that all federal agencies were asked to allow the White House to respond to the budget cuts rather than responding themselves.


Except, you know, they haven't been responding. And the natural suspicion is that they haven't been responding because they want to keep all these things available to deal away in the negotiations. That's a problem, because it means that nobody is making any kind of case for why cuts shouldn't be made.

Backroom transactional negotiating is much more convenient when everything's on the table. The problem is that people's lives are at stake as well as the ability of the Democratic party to give even a weak voice to the concerns of the middle class in the future. And unfortunately, that may be the crux of the problem --- the upcoming race for president will require tens of millions of dollars from wealthy corporations and individuals and they are quite obviously making their requirements known to both parties.


The GOP attempt to defund the NLRB is just one front in a campaign against the agency. The NLRB is handling at least four challenges from Republican lawmakers questioning the agency's decision-making, enforcement and advertising policies.


This budget battle could very well lead to the President winning the 2012 battle and the Democrats finally losing the larger war once and for all.



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