EFCA: Sirota gets panties in a bunch

I have no aversion to criticizing or ridiculing Dem leaders in Congress when it's deserved. (No party man, me!)

But, in general, I think that Pelosi, Reid and their helpers have played the mediocre hands they've been dealt with a modicum of skill.

Sirota complains about Harry not have secreted the card check bill EFCA (HR 800) in a must-pass bill, and thus allowed its defeat.

He really gets quite worked up. He moves from suggesting mere incompetence to something rather darker:

Does it have something to do with Democrats wanting to set up a situation that allows them to claim they care about workers and labor rights, while making sure that those labor rights continue to get trampled? [...] And if we are, does it have something to do with the spate of stories about Big Business showering top Democratic leaders in cash and throwing Democratic Hill staffers offers of six-figure corporate lobbying jobs?

Walter Winchell lives!

You'll recall that when the the minimum wage bill HR 2 was brought to the Senate floor, cloture was first voted on the House-passed text; once (as expected) cloture was rejected on said text, tax sweeteners were added, and cloture rerun: spectactual success!

There never was as conference held on HR 2, and eventually the minimum wage (including sweeteners) was tacked onto the Iraq supplemental HR 1591 and got enacted.

On the House passage vote, 13 GOP voted for HR 800 (Taylor and Boren voted against); on the 51-48 cloture vote, only Specter broke ranks.

Pretty much party line affairs, with none of the vulnerable GOP senators using the 8 available slots for gaining cover on the card check issue.

Point is: plenty more must-pass bills coming along to which HR 800 could be tacked.

Voting a stand-alone bill is not - pace Sirota - a lack of strategery, but a way of getting the balance of forces on record.

The other thing, of course, is that card check is one of those items on Bush's ever-lengthening list of veto-triggers.

Card check would be a natural rider for a must-pass bill in the right circumstances - factoring in the filibuster and veto risks and the politics that went with them.

I'd assume that, if it got that far, a game or two of veto-tennis would see it taken out of the bill it was taking a ride on.

But that's not to say that mileage couldn't be got out of the bill in the meantime.

For instance - what proportion of voters know what card check is? If Bush vetoes a bill because of it, perhaps that proportion will go up a bit.

Tags: card check, EFCA, HR 800, Marker Bills, Must-Pass Bills, Senate Riders, Sirota (all tags)



Re: EFCA: Sirota gets panties in a bunch

I agree with your take on this.  A solid party-line vote on a controversial issue, and all Sirota can do is concoct nutty conspiracy theories.  He seems to occupy a Bob Brigham-like market niche which relies on criticizing the Dems at every opportunity.

The idea that you can just wait for the Cute And Fuzzy Bunnies Act to come up for a vote and slap this on as a rider is pretty fanciful, in my book.  Sirota suggests that the Republicans used to do this all the time, but where are the examples?  The bankruptcy bill, a standalone bill.  The class-action bill, a standalone bill.  The Medicare drug bill, a standalone bill.

It's not like there's overwhelming public support for the EFCA, and I don't think the public would be impressed if we slipped it into some unrelated bill in the dead of night because we couldn't win an honest vote.  And I think it's really weak of Sirota to criticize the Dems for not being slimy enough to do that.

by Steve M 2007-06-26 04:09PM | 0 recs
Not really that

The practice of tacking on nongermane legislation to must-pass legislation is a well-established tactic. No opprobrium attaches, nor should attach - and I doubt whether Sixpack would get worked up over the practice, even if he gave the time to understand it.

Relevant factors for Harry: there's evidently no appetite among at-risk GOP to go to bat for EFCA, and no reason to suppose Bush's veto threat is hollow; EFCA only juices the unions - it's a low-impact issue for the Sixpack, and the netroots are indifferent; any bill that (by some miracle) got tacked EFCA onto it is bound to be more important that EFCA for the Dem leadership to pass, and the implied threat of deadlock would therefore be hollow.

Plus - the looming factor of floor time, and attention time: he has 08 hoopla next year, plus the farm and schools bills this year.

Plus - another round or three or Iraq.

It's not happening.

by skeptic06 2007-06-27 03:11PM | 0 recs
Re: EFCA: Sirota gets panties in a bunch

Does this help clarify the situation?

"My pitch to the business community was, `You want a lot from us, but you're now siding with the hard right,'" said the second senior House Democratic aide. "This card check bill is never going to see the light of day, and this is what you're going to spend your political capital on?"

by Matt Stoller 2007-06-27 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: EFCA: Sirota gets panties in a bunch

That's a good question, Matt.  I can't read the subscriber-only article, but I'm curious how you interpret that quote?

It doesn't seem particularly sinister at all for someone to recognize that the card-check bill had no shot of becoming law in a 51-49 Senate, and with a Republican in the White House.  But again, I'm not clear on the context.

Sirota seems to be putting the Democrats in a box where it's a crime for them to even bring a bill to the floor if they don't have the votes, because they "don't really mean it."

by Steve M 2007-06-27 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: EFCA: Sirota gets panties in a bunch

I, too, don't get Roll Call.

But I'd have thought that the likes of the NAM playing the role of union-buster would be good for the Dem leaderships - someone other than said leaderships for Dem activists to boo when they find EFCA going nowhere.

The heavier the employers, the more plausible the leadership case that EFCA wasn't worth the effort this Congress.

Bear in mind that these are blind quotes, though, and you have to wonder what the angle is: how much political capital would the employers be spending in opposing a bill that's going nowhere fast, with a party line vote nine votes short of cloture?

by skeptic06 2007-06-27 03:24PM | 0 recs


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