Blue Dogs Request EFCA Delay

by Brien Jackson

I meant to post about this last week, but put it off and forgot about it in the interim. Anyway, Greg Sargent reports that House Blue Dogs asked the House leadership to delay action on the Employee Free Chocie Act, at least until after the Senate has acted on it:

Blue Dog Democrats in the House have asked House Dem leaders to postpone a vote on the Employee Free Choice Act until after the Senate votes on it, and the Democratic leadership has agreed, a senior House Dem aide tells me.

The discussions are likely to disappoint some in the labor movement, who see Employee Free Choice as their top priority and had hoped the House would act quickly and pass a strong bill before the Senate passes a weaker version. Proponents and foes of the measure alike say the Senate is expected to be the major battleground over the bill because of the tight Dem majority.

Now I think the knee-jerk impulse even for me is to criticize the Blue Dogs here, but this really makes some sense. It was always the Senate that was going to be a problem anyway, so in a way it would just be bad caucus management to ask your members in districts where EFCA is likely to be politically dicey to go out on a limb on the package with no guarantee it will be worth anything. By agreeing to wait for the Senate, House leadership also let labor activists focus on holding marginal Senators and getting the proposal through the Senate to be ratified, so to speak, after the fact by the House.

What’s more, this may actually be beneficial to EFCA’s chances. Sargent’s source goes on to say that the Blue Dogs are worried about having to vote “for 2 different versions of the bill,” suggesting that, to the extent they’re willing to support the proposal, they’re likely to take whatever the Senate gives them. If there aren’t any troubling riders in the Senate bill, then, letting the Senate go first could produce a unified bill without a conference report, and could get the bill through Congress that much faster, something that I think would increase its chances of passing.

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