November 21, 2014
This week, the Senate HELP Committee approved along straight party lines David Lopez's re-nomination for another four-year term as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission General Counsel, with incoming Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) sharply criticizing Lopez for being "chiefly responsible for the agency's pursuit of high-profile lawsuits that have been rebuked by the courts, and taxpayers are paying the cost of these rebukes." The close vote came after the Association sent a letter to Congress urging members to fully examine the inconsistency of Mr. Lopez's recent litigation on wellness programs with the goals of his own Administration's policies in encouraging employer wellness programs. The Committee also approved by voice vote the nomination of U.S. Department of Justice attorney Charlotte Burrows to fill a vacant spot on the EEOC for a term that expires in July 2019. Both nominations are now cleared for Senate floor votes that are likely to occur shortly after Thanksgiving. Separately, the Senate HELP Committee held a nomination hearing for Lauren McFerran to fill a Board position on the NLRB. Ms. McFerran, who is currently the HELP Committee's chief labor counsel, told the panel that she is committed to an "efficient and fair" resolution to Board cases, and that if confirmed she will "spend a lot of time listening—listening to my experienced colleagues, to the many stakeholders who care about the Board's work." McFerran's nomination was substituted for that of Sharon Block, who had been one of the controversial recess nominees struck down by the Supreme Court. Committee Democrats complained that Black was a victim of being "blackballed" by Senate Republicans. McFerran's nomination is likely to be brought to the Senate floor before the end of the year to ensure a continued Democrat majority on the NLRB.