BUSINESS
01/31/2013 11:35 am ET | Updated Apr 02, 2013

Obama Appointments Receive Pressure From Republicans

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Several Republican lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation to stop a labor board and consumer watchdog from enforcing regulations, after an appeals court questioned the legitimacy of recent White House appointments at both agencies.

The bill prohibits the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from enforcing or implementing decisions and regulations without a constitutionally confirmed board or director.

A federal appeals court in Washington last week found that President Barack Obama violated the U.S. Constitution when he used recess appointments to fill the labor board, after determining that the Senate was not truly in recess.

The ruling did not deal directly with the consumer bureau, but Obama had used the same type of appointment to install its director.

While the bill, sponsored by senators Mike Johanns, Lamar Alexander and John Cornyn, has little chance of becoming law, it adds to pressure on the Obama administration to reach a compromise to keep both agencies operating and determine whether it will appeal the ruling.

Administration lawyers are expected to go to court at least twice more in March to argue over the same issue.

Meanwhile, other businesses have already begun asking courts to throw out recent rulings from the labor board, citing last week's decision.

"Any decisions or regulations made by the people who have no right to be there are invalid," Johanns, of Nebraska, said in a statement.

Congress does not directly set the CFPB budget, but the legislation would block the agency's next transfer of funds from the Federal Reserve to carry out any actions that require the approval of a director.

(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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