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Senate confirms full slate of labor board nominees

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By Amanda Becker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm five nominees to the National Labor Relations Board, marking the first time in a decade that the bipartisan agency that oversees union elections and polices unfair labor practices has had a full Senate-confirmed slate of five members.

“It’s time to ratchet down the political rhetoric that has haunted this agency,” Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa said before the votes.

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Democratic nominee Mark Gaston Pearce, the board’s current chairman, was confirmed for another term by a 59-38 vote.

Before President Barack Obama named Pearce to the board in 2010, he represented workers and unions in private practice and was an attorney in an NLRB regional office in Buffalo, New York.

“Together, we will continue to do the work that is necessary to enforce the law, so that business owners and employees can prosper and improve the lives of their families, their communities and our country,” Pearce said of the newly confirmed board in a statement.

Democrats Kent Hirozawa and Nancy Schiffer, who both received a 54-44 vote, are also longtime labor lawyers who have worked in NLRB regional offices.

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Hirozawa has been chief counsel to Chairman Pearce. He also spent 20 years at a labor and employment firm in New York City and worked in an NLRB field office there.

Schiffer works in the general counsel’s office at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. She began her legal career in an NLRB regional office in Detroit, Michigan, before going into private practice.

Two Republican nominees, Philip Miscimarra and Harry Johnson, were confirmed by voice vote.

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Both are attorneys who represent management in labor disputes. Miscimarra works for the law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Chicago. Johnson works in the Los Angeles office of the firm Arent Fox.

“With today’s vote, our country has qualified public servants on duty to defend America’s workers, businesses and families,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement.

The confirmations in the Democrat-controlled chamber mark the end of a contentious political battle over NLRB nominations. Republican lawmakers, who have accused the agency of activist decision-making, had refused to reconfirm two current board members whose appointments are being challenged in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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In mid-July, Obama withdrew the contested nominations and replaced them with Hirozawa and Schiffer. The swap was key to a bipartisan deal to usher an array of stalled nominations through the Senate.

The case before the Supreme Court challenges the validity of Obama’s 2012 “recess appointments” to the NLRB when the Senate was in session but not conducting business. A federal appeals court in January ruled the appointments invalid. The Obama administration has appealed and the Supreme Court will hear the case during its next term, which begins in October.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker; Editing by Ros Krasny and Stacey Joyce)

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Fox News graphic busts White House press secretary for lying about Syria cease-fire

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A Fox News chyron underlined a major lie by White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.

She still hasn't given an official press briefing, but Grisham made one of her frequent appearances on "Fox & Friends" to celebrate a cease-fire negotiated Thursday by Vice President Mike Pence that's already been broken.

"The president has an obligation to look out for the troops and look out for the country," Grisham said, justifying President Donald Trump's decision to remove troops from northern Syria and abandoned Kurdish allies to ethnic cleansing by Turkey.

"When (Turkish president Recep Tayyip) Erdo?an made it clear he was going to invade, the president acted decisively to pull our military out of the way," Grisham said. "He sent a delegation over to get a cease-fire. That takes time."

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James Mattis finally fires back at Trump in a surprisingly funny charity speech

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Former US defense secretary James Mattis said he was honored to be the "world's most overrated general" in a swipe at his former boss Donald Trump who insulted him earlier this week.

At a gala charity dinner in New York Thursday evening, Mattis told diners he had now "achieved greatness."

"I'm not just an overrated general. I am the greatest, the world's most overrated," he said.

"I'm honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress," he said.

"So I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals, and frankly that sounds pretty good to me," he said to laughter and applause at the annual Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation dinner.

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‘We’ve entered a shame-free zone’: CNN’s Sciutto appalled by Trump’s ‘mind-boggling’ G7 corruption

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CNN's Jim Sciutto on Friday did not mince words when talking about President Donald Trump's decision to host next year's G7 summit at his own golf course in Doral, Florida.

During a segment about the president's multiple corruption scandals, Sciutto described Trump's G7 gambit as the president "explicitly, publicly steering a taxpayer-funded government contract to [his] own business." He then asked former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti to comment on why this scandal might get Trump into hot legal water.

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