Republicans, As Always, Can't Stand Free Choice, Not For Women And Not For Working People
Colombia does it like this-- here, Republicans have another strategy
Today the Employee Free Choice Act is being introduced in both the House and the Senate. The Republican Obstructionists, at the behest of their paymasters at the Chamber of Commerce, and other violently anti-working family entities, will go all out to defeat it. Killing unions means more to them than even "killing babies," as they call women's right to choice.
The last time the bill came up, the House passed it overwhelmingly, 241-185, 13 Republicans joining all but two fake Democrats, arch-reactionaries Dan Boren (OK) and Gene Taylor (MS), both longtime Chamber of Commerce shills. Thanks to Rahm Emanuel-inspired DCCC recruiting, there are far more reactionary Democrats in Congress now than there were then. Before we get into that, here's the list of Republicans who voted for Employee Free Choice in 2007 (starred are the ones who are no longer in Congress):
Mike Ferguson* (NJ)
Vito Fossella* (NY)
Peter King (R-NY)
Steve LaTourette (OH)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
Thaddeus McCotter (MI)
John McHugh (NY)
Tim Murphy (PA)
Jim Saxton* (NJ)
Chris Shays* (CT)
Chris Smith (NJ)
Jim Walsh* (NY)
Don Young (AK)
In 2007 the House bill, presented by George Miller (D-CA) had 233 co-sponsors, including some of the most reactionary Blue Dogs as well as progressives and other normal Democrats. Seven Republicans-- Fossella, King, LaTourette, LoBiondo, McHugh, Shays, and Smith-- also signed on as co-sponsors. Back then, the Chamber of Commerce and their allies weren't nearly as hysterical as they are now, mostly because they knew the Senate could filibuster it to death (as they did) and that, in a worst case scenario, Bush would veto it. Now they are facing up to the fact that 8 senatorial Employee Free Choice opponents-- Wayne Allard (CO), Norm Coleman (MN), Elizabeth Dole (NC), Pete Domenici (NM), Gordon Smith (OR), Ted Stevens (AK), John Sununu (NH) and John Warner (VA)-- are no longer in the Senate. And Barack Obama couldn't be more different from George W. Bush on this issue.
So now the far right-- as well as off da hook and much beleagured temporary RNC chair Michael Steele-- is threatening to finance primaries against any Republican who votes for the bill. The Chamber of Commerce has also been actively courting right-wing Democrats with carrots and sticks. The other day Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK) announced to his Chamber allies that, as expected, he would vote against working families once again.
Going into the vote there are
Freshmen who weren't around in 2007 and who aren't co-sponsors this year are mostly reactionaries who often cross the aisle to vote with the GOP: Bobby Bright (Blue Dog-AL), Parker Griffith (Blue Dog-AL), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ), Walt Minnick (ID), Frank Kratovil (Blue Dog-MD), Travis Childers (Blue Dog-MS), Dina Titus (NV), Tom Perriello (VA), who is a stand-up supporter of working families and says he plans to vote for the bill, and Glenn Nye (Blue Dog-VA).
The only Republican co-sponsors with the guts to stand up to the far right and remain on board are Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith of New Jersey and John McHugh (NY). The rest got frightened off, at least as co-sponsors.
I might add that when the battle was being fought in the House in 2007, the Republicans put up a series of asinine amendments and then their ritual motion to recommit (kill). On the recommit resolution, 13 Democrats crossed the aisle to vote with the GOP: John Barrow (Blue Dog-GA), Dan Boren (Blue Dog-OK), Nancy Boyda (KS), Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN), Brad Ellsworth (Blue Dog-IN), Baron Hill (Blue Dog-IN), Nick Lampson (Blue Dog-TX), Tim Mahoney (Blue Dog-FL), Jim Marshall (Blue Dog-GA), Harry Mitchell (AZ), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN), Heath Shuler (Blue Dog-NC), and Gene Taylor (Blue Dog-MS). The only three Democrats who voted on this in 2007 who were defeated this past November are on that list. The 3 aforementioned amendments meant to subvert the bill were offered by violently anti-working family fanatics Steve King (defeated 264-164), Virginia Foxx (defeated 256-173), and Buck McKeon ( defeated 256-173).
Over on the Senate side, where the attempt to close down the Grand Obstructionist Party's de facto filibuster was defeated, 51 in favor of the bill and 48 opposing it, every Democrat plus Arlen Specter (R-PA). In 2007 every Democrat co-sponsored the bill except conservatives Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor (all of whom voted for it). This year the only Democrats who haven't signed on as co-sponsors are Max Baucus, Evan Bayh, Colorado freshmen Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, Jeff Bingaman, Illinois freshman Roland Burris (although probably because no one asked him to), Kent Conrad, Claire McCaskill, Byron Dorgan, Herb Kohl, North Carolina freshman Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, John Tester, Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, Mark Warner, Jim Webb, and Dianne Feinstein. (Bolded names were sponsors in 2007 and I'm sure they're still on board now and just haven't gotten around to sign up for co-sponsorship.)
Unfortunately Al Franken, a determined supporter of Employee Free Choice, still hasn't been permitted to take his seat in the Senate. Hopefully that's only a few weeks from resolution. It will be much longer for DWT's first Senate endorsed candidate, Dan Gelber. Dan is another progressive Democrat just itching to vote in favor of the aspirations of America's-- and in this case's, Florida's-- working families. Last night he told us that he's confident that "Americans will see through the deceptive arguments of its opponents. The Employee Free Choice Act simply gives workers a more level playing field on which to organize. Presently, workers can organize via majority sign-up or by ballot election-- but under current law it is management that decides which system will be used along with virtually every other aspect of the election. Employee Free Choice simply gives workers the choice which makes sense because it is, after all, their decision. So for me it is simple. Employees need to be treated with dignity and respect and that means giving them control over their own process of organizing."
UPDATE: MORE CO-SPONSORS
On the Senate side Roland Burris (D-IL) has now signed on. And over in the House, working families are also being supported by Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Jim Costa (Blue Dog-CA), Artur Davis (D-AL), Joe Donnelly (Blue Dog-IN), Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (Blue Dog-SD), Thompson (Blue Dog-CA), and Dina Titus (NV).