The Senate voted down one of President Barack Obama's nominees Tuesday, hours after Obama warned he would use his recess appointment power to get members of his team in place if necessary.
The Senate voted 52-33 against a procedural motion to move to the nomination of Craig Becker, the controversial pick tapped to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. The procedural motion needed 60 votes to pass.
The chamber did vote 84-0 to confirm Joseph Greenaway, a judicial nomination for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Republicans have strongly criticized Becker, a veteran of the labor movement who has worked for the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union, and feared he would abuse his position to enact provisions of "card check" legislation that allows unions to organize through a petition process. But opposition to Becker was not limited to the GOP: Democratic Sens. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.) also voted no.
Casting his first votes after being sworn into office last week, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) voted for Greenaway and against Becker on procedural motion.
At a press conference following a bipartisan jobs summit at the White House Tuesday, Obama called for the Senate to clear a backlog of pending nominees and threatened to exert his executive power over the Presidents Day recess if necessary.
"If the Senate does not act — and I made this very clear — if the Senate does not act to confirm these nominees, I will consider making several recess appointments during the upcoming recess, because we can't afford to allow politics to stand in the way of a well-functioning government," Obama said.