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(The Hill) — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday defended the National Labor Relations Board, which has come under heavy criticism from Republicans.

Reid’s defense comes as Republicans have gone on the attack against the NLRB over a complaint issued earlier this year that faulted Boeing for opening a new factory for its Dreamliner 787 fleet in South Carolina.

The NLRB said Boeing had retaliated against striking workers in Washington state by building the new production plant in South Carolina, a “right to work” state.

The decision enraged business groups and Republicans, who say South Carolina could lose jobs because of the NLRB action.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) accused the agency last week of operating outside of the bounds of law.

”It’s clearly outside of the authority of this federal government to be threatening and bullying and trying to intimidate companies,” DeMint said of the agency’s action.

Reid, however, said the NLRB is doing what it was set up to do.

Reid said the NLRB “acts as a check on employers and employees alike” and is consistent with the “spirit of checks and balances” established by the Founding Fathers.

“The Founders created a system of checks and balances — three branches of government, for example, and two chambers of the Congress — precisely because they anticipated these passions,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

“Long after that system was created, a new independent federal agency was created in the same spirit of checks and balances,” said Reid. “That agency is the National Labor Relations Board, and it acts as a check on employers and employees alike.”

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