Skip to comments.Specter delivers death blow to labor union bill
Posted on 03/24/2009 4:13:09 PM PDT by radar101
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) announced Tuesday he will oppose card check, giving an apparent death blow to the most important congressional issue to organized labor.
Specter made the dramatic announcement in a floor speech. His opposition means Democrats can count on a maximum of 59 votes to move the bill forward, one short of the 60 required to clear Senate rules.
Winning 59 votes would require Democrat Al Franken to beat Republican Norm Coleman in the still-contested Minnesota Senate race. Democrats also would have to count on holding the rest of their votes, and several centrists have raised doubts about the bill.
In his floor speech, Specter noted that Frankens likely win could give him the 60th vote required to make the bill law.
If so, the decisive vote would be mine, said Specter, who told The Hill last week in an interview that his would be the decisive vote.
It is an anguishing position but we play the cards we're dealt, Specter said Tuesday on the floor.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Specters opposition does not mean the end of card-check in this Congress. He also said he thinks other Republicans in the Senate might vote for the bill.
But no other Republican senators have signaled their support for the bill, and business has engaged in a fierce lobbying and public relations attack to prevent anyone from crossing the aisle to support it.
After his speech, praise immediately began to pour in for Specter from a number of business trade associations who have lobbied heavily against the bill.
I am very pleased that Sen. Arlen Specter has decided to vote against cloture on the EFCA, said former Michigan Gov. John Engler (R), president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. Manufacturers stand behind Sen. Specters decision to vote against EFCA and appreciate his decision to put working men and women, the economy and the nation first.
Protecting our fragile economy from further damage should be the top priority of every elected official, and Sen. Specter deserves praise and respect for doing as much, said Katie Packer, executive director for the Workforce Fairness Institute.
Union officials noted the importance of Specter's decision. In a briefing to reporters earlier this month, AFL-CIO Director of Government Relations Bill Samuel said Specters and Frankens votes were needed to get to 60.
Specter, who is expected to face a tough primary challenge and a general-election battle in 2010, was the only Republican to vote in favor of a cloture vote to proceed to debate on card-check in the last Congress.
The senator said the decision to vote for cloture on the bill last time was not because he approved of the bill itself.
I did not support the bill on its merits but rather to take up the issue of labor law reform in general, Specter said.
The Pennsylvania Republican said he found significant problems with two provisions in the bill. One, the card-check provision, would prevent employers from demanding a secret-ballot election to form a union if a majority of workers sign authorization cards stating their intention to organize. The other would have the government appoint an arbitrator to negotiate stalled contract negotiations between unions and management.
Calling the secret ballot the cornerstone of our democracy, Specter said that provision was too damaging to the process of forming a union.
Specter also said he attached possible amendments to the National Labor Relations Act to his floor statements for other senators to consider in order to improve labor law.
Unions campaigned for the legislation during the last election and supported candidates who backed the bill. Labor leaders see the bill as vital to unions since it would help reverse the decline in their membership if passed.
J.T. Rushing contributed to this article.
even the Spectre is against it??
it must be a super duper bad idea for him to even consider it... or maybe he is just worried about the primaries
he may be a RINO but he’s our RINO hehe
Specter knows this vote could be the difference between his re-election bid next year.
Definitely the latter and not the former.
Arlen, I hope the PA electorate thanks you by allowing you plenty of time with your family.
“or maybe he is just worried about the primaries”
Probably. He is trying to look “conservative” and will likely continue to do so, up until the primary, in order to win re-election, and then, once he does, go back to his traitorous RINO ways.
We know who he truly is! To the Republicans in Pennsylvania: DO NOT LET HIM WIN THE PRIMARY!!!!!!!! VOTE FOR PAT TOOMEY!!!!!!!!
Nothing new here, first thing I ever read about him was his usual ritual of pretending to be a conservative whenever re-election rolled around.
However, this may be a case of too little too late. I’m guessing it’s camel’s back time for him. That is, if he has anything remotely resembling a serious primary challenge.
He’s still a *7%$#!!
“If so, the decisive vote would be mine,
Shouldn’t even be a matter for any discussion and wouldn’t be if this jerk had a brain.
Whatever Specter’s motivation, I thank him for taking the right position, and point out that even the worst Rino can be brought around when you hold his feet to the fire.
He’s trying to regain lost election ground from Porkulus-that’s all this is....
Trivial issue now that Spector has already voted to bring economic and political slavery to the US. He is a despicable and selfish human being.
I’ll believe it when I see it!
How can supporting the secret ballot be "an anguishing position"? Watching Arlene bob and weave before falling in with the dems is "anguishing."
BTW, why hasn't Minn. determined the outcome of the Coleman-Franken race? Maybe because the Democrat Party is getting more and more toxic by the minute?
ps. We still ain't votin' for you AS
For ONCE, may GOD BLESS OUR Senator Sphincter! Sphincter must have decided he is in DEEP TROUBLE with Us PA Republicans to do something that makes sense like this decision of his;-)