Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Senate Republicans block union bill, immigration bill advances

As expected, Senate Republicans almost unanimously voted to block a vote on the Employee Free Choice Act. The vote was 51-48, not reaching the 60 votes necessary for cloture. The bill would require employers to recognize unions after being presented union cards signed by a majority of eligible workers on their payrolls. Under current labor law, a company can demand a secret ballot election where employers have greater access to workers and corporate threats, intimidation and eventual firings are commonplace. Dragging out the election process, companies also often succeed in wearing down union enthusiasm.

This comes as Roll Call has reported that 239 other bills have been passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate only to be held up, with conservatives “objecting to just about every major piece of legislation that [Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)] has tried to bring up.” Ridiculous.

Meanwhile, the immigration bill did survive the cloture motion today, 64-35, but there's no guarantee it will overcome the possible Thursday vote on ending debate that will also require the backing of 60 senators. Even if that happens, there is no guarantee that it will ultimately attract even the simple majority it needs to pass either. It all depends on what amendments get passed over the next few days. I have to say I'm not optimistic.

UPDATE: Senate Republicans also blocked Democrats’ efforts to send the 9/11 Commission recommendations and the ethics and lobbying reform to conference.

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