Sunday, February 22, 2009

Will We Have A Secretary Of Labor After Tuesday?


Tuesday Harry Reid is calling the Senate Republicans' bluff on the mean-spirited obstructionism they have been using to deny California Congresswoman Hilda Solis confirmation as Secretary of Labor. He's scheduled a cloture vote to shut down their de facto filibuster. The battle over Obama's best cabinet nomination has become a kind of proxy fight in the jihad against unions and the Employee Free Choice Act by the Chamber of Commerce, the GOP's patron.

Almost two weeks ago, the nomination was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) with only two of the most vicious do-or-die GOP obstructionists, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Pat Roberts of Kansas voting no. Meanwhile, sleazy Republican and Chamber of Commerce front groups have been throwing up all sorts of bogus complaints about Hilda to try to discredit her. Her popularity is as solid as her integrity and the only time the GOP has put up a candidate against her since she was first elected in 2000 (Emma Fishbeck 2 years later) they only managed to draw 27% of the vote. Ironically, Hilda first came to Congress from the state Senate after challenging a long time reactionary Democrat, Matthew Martinez, who she beat in the primary. After he lost the primary, Martinez officially became a Republican-- he was already voting like one-- and Hilda trounced him in the general election.

So will Democrats muster the 60 votes required for cloture, even without Al Franken and without Ted Kennedy? Well... hard to say for sure. Progressives feel very strongly about Hilda's leadership. With rumors flying that Rep. Carol Shea-Porter may be considering giving in to calls for her to run for the Senate seat Judd Gregg is abandoning next year, we asked her how she sees Hilda's nomination battle. "Hilda Solis is a leader and a friend of both working men and women and business," she told us. "She is smart and compassionate and fair. Senators have a chance to vote for a true public servant and I hope they will." Another Democrat who has announced he is running for a U.S. Senate seat being abandoned by a conservative Republican (Mel Martinez), is state Senator Dan Gelber. No one knows for sure how Martinez plans to vote on Hilda's nomination Tuesday-- but he's been viciously anti-labor and voted against the Employee Free Choice Act in the past. If Dan were already in the Senate, there can be little doubt he'd be in the forefront of Senators urging Hilda's confirmation. This morning he pointed out that "My own state of Florida is leading the nation in job loss and within months will see unemployment rates unparalleled since the Great Depression. It is simply amazing that even in such dire times when politics should be supplanted by patriotism, there are still national leaders obstructing confirmation of our labor secretary." Those "national leaders" are-- excepting a small handful of Blue Dogs like Heath Shuler (NC) and Bobby Bright (AL)-- mostly Republicans. Even the most reactionary Senate Democrats, like Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor and Max Baucus, are firmly behind Obama and Hilda on this one.

So how many Republicans will vote against their own Obstructionist Caucus? The very conservative Utah Republican Orrin Hatch seems fed up with all the obstructionism for obstructionism's sake and he's already said he'll vote to confirm. Arlen Specter (R-PA), the only Republican to have voted for the Employee Free Choice Act in the 110th Congress, is likely to vote for confirmation and I would say Olympia Snowe will support her as well. Mike Enzi (R-WY) is the ranking Republican on HELP and he voted for confirmation and explained why he feels she should be confirmed. The other Republicans on HELP who voted for her and will presumably do so on the Senate floor are Judd Gregg (NH), Lamar Alexander (TN), Richard Burr (NC), Johnny Isakson (GA), John McCain (AZ), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and the aforementioned Orrin Hatch. Burr and Isakson are both part of the Obstructionist Caucus and both will instantly bend if pressure is put on them by DeMint, Vitter and Cornyn, the three who have all but admitted they would rather see America fail than Obama succeed. McCain has lost all sense of honor and dignity so there's no telling what he will do. But even without those 3 it looks likely that enough Republicans will hold firm against DeMint's hysterical nihilistic ravings to allow Hilda to be confirmed.

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At 6:44 AM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Okay, it's Tuesday (morning).

Perhaps we'll have a Labor Sec. today.

Personally, I think Prez.O named Solis in order to have something to trade away.

No, I don't trust the fucker. Why? Do you?


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