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Call Sen. Feinstein to Demand Support of Employee Free Choice Act

by repost Friday, Mar. 13, 2009 at 5:20 AM

Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein(Cal), Harry Reid (NV), Ben Nelson (NEB), Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (both Arkansas), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana) and Mark Udall (Colorado) are working hard to help the Republicans defeat the labor legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act. Call 1-866-207-2060 to be connected to your Senator free of charge to tell them that to oppose the EFCA as it is now is to be anti-labor, which means they are running for immediate retirement. California ZIP codes will be connected to Sen. Feinstein's office.

Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein(Cal), Harry Reid (NV), Ben Nelson (NEB), Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (both Arkansas), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana) and Mark Udall (Colorado) are working hard to help the Republicans defeat the labor legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act. Call 1-866-207-2060 to be connected to your Senator free of charge to tell them that to oppose the EFCA as it is now is to be anti-labor, which means they are running for immediate retirement. California ZIP codes will be connected to Sen. Feinstein's office.

For more on the EFCA, see:

Here is the full story on the Employee Free Choice Act that anti-abortion Democrat Harry Reid (NV) and war profiteer Democrat Dianne Feinstein (California) are trying to water down and defeat:


EFCA: Another Reason Harry Reid Must Go

by Paul Hogarth‚ Mar. 12‚ 2009

Two months ago, I argued that Democratic Senators should get themselves a new Majority Leader – because Harry Reid is not up to the task. Now, as the U.S. Senate considers the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), only one factor could spell defeat: Reid’s insistence that they need 60 votes to pass it. In these tough economic times, working people need EFCA more than ever – so that unions can grow and the middle class can rise. Corporate America is afraid of EFCA’s potency, and is waging an all-out war to derail it. But Harry Reid has made their job easy: target enough conservative Democrats to either oppose it (or make wishy-washy statements), fueling the narrative that the Senate cannot block a filibuster. The stakes couldn’t be higher for working people. President Obama strongly supports EFCA, and will sign it if it reaches his desk. The only thing blocking it now is a weak-willed Senate Majority Leader who gives the right-wing credit when they never reciprocated.

Watching the recent news coverage on EFCA has been painful. Democrats in the Senate have a 58-41 majority (Al Franken would be the 59th vote, but Minnesota Republicans are still suing to prevent him from being seated), which should give progressives more than enough breathing room to get things done. The public is clamoring for change (one poll has 73% of Americans supporting EFCA), the U.S. House has already passed EFCA, and we have an ex-community organizer in the White House. All that’s preventing EFCA from becoming law is the insistence that we need sixty votes to derail an attempted filibuster.

A word on the filibuster process. U.S. Senate rules require 60 votes to invoke “cloture,” which means ending debate and bringing something to a vote. Theoretically, unless a supermajority of Senators support legislation, the minority can decide to speak for hours on end – the way Southern segregationists did in the 1950’s and 60’s. But the power to play obstructionist has its limits. Each Senator can only speak twice during a filibuster, so the opposition will eventually run out of speakers to keep it going. Supporters of EFCA must simply remain equally committed; and with the public supporting such a high-stakes issue, there is no reason to let Republicans steamroll over them.

But that’s what Harry Reid has done – by insisting we need 60 votes to pass EFCA, thus avoiding the need to fight a filibuster. That’s not how his Republican predecessor, Bill Frist, ran the show. In 2005, when the G.O.P. had a 55-45 majority, Democrats talked about a filibuster to stop right-winger Samuel Alito’s lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. But enough conservative Democrats didn’t go along that the attempt failed. Joe Lieberman, for example, voted for cloture – but then opposed Alito on the actual vote, so he could claim to have been “one of us.”

If Bill Frist had run the Senate like Harry Reid, the vote to confirm Justice Alito might never have happened – and he would not be on the Supreme Court today. If Reid were running the Senate like Frist, EFCA would have already come to a vote – and be the law.

Now, talk of needing 60 votes to pass EFCA has bought the opposition time – and is giving unwarranted attention to conservative legislators. Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson came out against EFCA, and the Wall Street Journal (hardly an unbiased source on the matter) had a column speculating that “key Senators” are “wavering.” Only after blogs pressed the piece as pure gossip did the reporter finally agree to name names: moderate Republican Arlen Specter (Pennsylvania), and conservative Democrats Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (both Arkansas), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana) and Mark Udall (Colorado.)

Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight has noted that EFCA only has 40 co-sponsors in the Senate – whereas last year (when Democrats had a slimmer majority), they had 47. Some moderate Senators – like Dianne Feinstein – haven’t renewed their prior “co-sponsorship,” and rumors are flying about watering down EFCA to get sixty votes. Most disturbing is the idea to take the power of employees to choose a card check out of the bill, gutting the heart of the whole legislation. Representing a state like California, Feinstein can’t afford to vote “no” on EFCA – but there’s a real fear that she might go with a “compromise.”

Concerned Californians should call 1-866-207-2060, and urge Senator Feinstein to co-sponsor EFCA. Say you appreciated her co-sponsorship in prior years, and tell her to remain firm on “card-check” in the legislation. But there’s an inescapable conclusion I’ve come to. If we had a Senate Majority Leader who wasn’t afraid of filibuster threats, corporate America’s scheme to kill employee free choice wouldn’t stand a prayer.

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Have the EFCA people lost their minds patronizing Mexican drug lords or simply can't count Henry Friday, Mar. 13, 2009 at 12:23 PM

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