At FireDogLake, Jane Hamsher asks "What Happened to the Employee Free Choice Act?" Her post is her view of the recent political history of the legislative proposal. Her introduction provides some summary:
The fate of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) over the course of the past year and a half has been largely determined by the White House. Rahm Emanuel would not let it come up for a vote until after health care was passed, and by that time the Democrats no longer had 60 votes in the Senate. But its evolution is also intimately tied to the electoral prospects of Harry Reid and Arlen Specter, and unless you understand one, you can’t understand the other.
Hamsher recounts Senator Reid’s (D-NV) absolute need for the support of the Culinary Workers Union for his 2010 re-election effort, and Senator Specter’s (D-PA) September 2009 courtship of the AFL-CIO with his pseudo-announcement of "compromise" legislation. But, she references AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s previous report that the White House intervened to stall any legislative action on EFCA until after the healthcare reform debate.
And then Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) won the special election and slammed the door on EFCA’s prospects to pass a cloture motion. Her conclusion:
Some have argued that the unions were wrong to back off of EFCA and work on health care. But union members overwhelmingly wanted health care reform more than they wanted EFCA. Nonetheless, the unions did everything they could to pass it, and if the White House had pulled out all the stops for EFCA that they did on health care, it no doubt would have.
Thanks to Rahm’s determination to stop a vote before health care, the only chance to pass the Employee Free Choice Act was in the spring, when health care was in its infancy. With Arlen Specter’s foot dragging, Rahm and the White House had the perfect excuse to delay a vote until it was too late.
Not a terribly confident view of the bill’s future prospects.
Cross-Posted at LaborRelationsToday.com