Democrat Mark Pearce is bailing after President Donald Trump nominated him to serve another five-year term on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Conservative and pro-business groups fought Pearce’s nomination and lobbied the Trump administration to deny him another stint with the agency. Pearce’s announcement is a significant win for his detractors.
“I will not be seeking another term at the NLRB,” Pearce told Bloomberg Law. “While I urge that the board return to five members so that it can continue to function with the appropriate quorum, I feel it’s best that I remove myself from the center of a political tug of war that has spanned five months.”
“I believe I’ve accomplished a lot while I was there,” Pearce said. “While I was willing to continue, I know there’s much good I can do outside the agency to protect its purpose and mission.”
Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York met with White House officials late in 2018 to plead for Pearce’s place on the board. He may have struck a deal with the president to get Pearce back on the board just for Pearce to back out months later.
Schumer agreed to allow several Labor Department nominations to ease through the Senate in exchange for Pearce’s position, sources told Bloomberg Law in December. Hours before the White House announced Pearce’s nomination, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Schumer struck a deal to push seven Trump judicial nominees through the Senate, The Washington Free Beacon reported at the time.
Pearce was one of two Democrats sitting on the NLRB with three Republicans. The board was designed to be a partisan agency with three members from the party that holds the presidency and two members from the minority party.
Pearce served as the board’s chairman under former President Barack Obama. After Trump’s election Pearce has worked, largely through procedural measures, to slow down conservative board rulings that have largely undone policies set under the Obama administration.
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