Shrinking membership at the NLRB

Once again we are witnessing the NLRB losing members due to normal attrition, and not being replaced due to political stonewalling. "Normal" is five members, with no more than three from a single political party. With a Democrat President, that would be (and was for a while) three D's and two R's. Terms run for five years, with one member's term expiring each year. Republican Harry Johnson’s term expired on August 27, 2015. So we are now down to four members: Democrats Mark Gaston Pearce (Chairman), Kent Y. Hirozawa, and Lauren McFerran; Republican Philip A. Miscimarra.

The President has not (repeat, not) even nominated anybody to replace Johnson.

Democrat Kent Hirozawa's term expires on August 27, 2016, and the President has already announced Hirozawa's reappointment. [Announcement]

What's going on? There's no shortage of great Republicans who could be nominated. The President won't nominate a Republican for fear that the nominee would be confirmed by the Senate, bringing the Board back up to five members. This would be followed by Hirozawa's departure and the Senate's failure to confirm his re-nomination. And that, my friends, would leave the NLRB with a 2-2 split. The White House would prefer to see the Board shrink in size (to three) while maintaining a majority (2-1) in Democrat hands.

The obvious solution to this sort of thing is for the President and Senate to agree that the President will nominate a Republican and the Senate will then confirm both Hirozawa and the Republican – a package deal. In normal times, that would be a no-brainer. But we do not live in normal times.