Two key Biden administration nominations to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) failed to win approval today from the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, as the committee deadlocked with 7-7 votes on both nominations.
The nominations of Ernest W. DuBester to be a member of the FLRA, and Kurt T. Rumsfeld to be the agency’s general counsel, failed to advance in the face of concerns expressed by Republican members of the committee over allegations of possible misconduct by the nominees in their current offices. Republicans on the committee have asked the FLRA Inspector General to investigate the two nominees.
“It is inappropriate to rush through a nomination when those nominees are going through an IG investigation,” Sen. Robert Portman, R-Ohio, ranking member of the committee, said.
That objection held little weight with the committee’s chairman, Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich. He said that the nominees have submitted detailed information to the committee that addresses what he called politically motivated accusations by anti-labor activists.
“Further delaying of their confirmation undermines the FLRA’s ability to carry out its important responsibilities including enforcing fair labor practices for hardworking Federal employees,” Sen. Peters added.
The White House in January had to refresh the nomination of DuBester to the FLRA because the Senate had not acted on the original nomination made in 2021 before the end of the calendar year. The Senate Homeland Security committee – the same committee that failed to approve the nomination today – voted last November to approve the nomination.
DuBester served on the FLRA under Presidents Obama and Trump, and is a previous chairman of the National Mediation Board.
Rumsfeld joined FLRA in 2013, and has been DuBester’s chief counsel.
Separately, the committee voted today to approve the nomination of Krista A. Boyd to be Inspector General for the Office of Personnel Management. The only member of the committee to vote no on Boyd’s nomination was Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri.