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.
Paging Dr. Frankenstein, Paging Dr. Frankenstein...
The word in PA is that the Unions and Dems wouldn’t kill him if he voted for the stimulus, which helps Unions, and then ran for cover on card check. This was in the bag months ago and now Arlen is trying to be a Republican. No chance for this PA Committeeman, he is Toast.
Anguishing my Scots Jewish arse....hell I'd relish it.
I'd vote neekid.
Having this jerk for against makes me think about being for it...he’s a flake and needs to go down.
You and me both - I’d be dancing on the tables voting against card check! The fact that Spewtum even had to consider whether or not to vote against that piece of crap bill says everything about him.
I agree. But the dim bulbs at the RNC still think pandering to Dem constituents, rather than principled stands on the issues, is the way to "earn" votes.
Even in these times getting rid of the secret ballot is a hard sell. I bet many Democrats are glad they are just a name on a failed bill that most people will forget.
Yes, we have all those dead voters, don’t you know....it’s sad really, and frustrating. But we are having 2 tea parties here, maybe we can “hope” for some “change”.
“Even in these times getting rid of the secret ballot is a hard sell.”
As it well should be. To be anti-secret ballot is un-American to me. I’m just glad the RINO saw the light for whatever reason. Now, if he would just become a true conservative on other issues....
What anquish? This should be a no-brainer. "Card Check" has no other purpose but blatant voter intimidation and cuts at the core of the franchise. Why not just assign a union goon to accompany each voter in the voting booth?
If true, thank you Pat Toomey (and Rush Limbaugh)
Believe it when I see it.
Great news Tribune7.
“For ONCE, may GOD BLESS OUR Senator Sphincter!”
Maybe not. I just read this on Michelle Malkin’s site and it has Pat Toomey’s statement:
Says he would be willing to reconsider Card Check when economy improves and his requests to amend the National Labor Relations Act are approved.
Statement from Pat Toomey on Specters Conditional Reversal
When Senator Specter does a flip flop, its worth checking the fine print. On the senate floor today he said: I would be willing to reconsider Employees Free Choice legislation when the economy returns to normalcy. In other words, if he thinks his political fortunes have improved, he will deny workers a secret ballot after all. - Former Congressman Pat Toomey
Maybe this means he knows Franken will be able to steal the election. Card check will still pass and he gets to appear like a Republican.
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.Sure, just when my mood was improving, the phrase "Senator Al Franken" tiptoes in...