In the News
Mar 25 2009
If anyone were still in doubt as to the importance of a Senate filibuster, we'd point them to Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter's announcement yesterday that he will not support "card check." Maybe Big Labor won't be able to up-end the economy, after all.
Mr. Specter's decision means Republicans now have 41 votes against "card check" - legislation that would do away with secret ballots in union organization elections. The Pennsylvanian was the only Senate Republican to have previously voted in favor of a debate on the bill, and as such had been the target of a furious lobbying fight by unions and the business community. Yet to be seen is whether Mr. Specter's decision will inspire any number of swing state Democrats to follow his lead, and thereby neutralize an issue for which they are getting pilloried by their home-state business communities.
Mr. Specter is undoubtedly hoping that by getting on the right side of what has become a grassroots issue for the GOP, he might avoid an ugly primary battle for his Senate seat next year. But he also made clear in his floor speech that he had serious policy concerns, and he went out of his way to criticize both the bill's "elimination of the secret ballot" and an equally pernicious provision that would require "compulsory arbitration" in many contract negotiations. He also pointed out the obvious: The legislation would create new burdens on companies and lead to "further job losses" when the economy can least afford them.
Big Labor spent a fortune electing Democrats to pass card check. If the main bill falters, it will tempt Senators and the business community with equally destructive "compromise" legislation. The anti-card-check forces should instead take heart that their pressure helped gain Mr. Specter's support, and keep working to kill this idea.