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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

EFCA Vote Defines Political Parties

Next time you hear somebody complain that they don’t know what Democrats stand for, refer them to the cloture vote on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), in essence a vote for or against stronger trade unions in America.


With the sole exception of Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) who voted with the Democrats, it was a perfect party lines cloture vote on EFCA, (Senators’ votes here), with all Dems voting to end the GOP fillibuster. The 51-48 vote fell 9 votes short of the 60 needed to invoke cloture.
David Sirota riffs on what he sees as the Dems limp fight for EFCA, and the disturbing possiblity that some Dems didn’t want the bill to pass, despite their votes for cloture. Nathan Newman’s TPM Cafe post agrees with Sirota, and Newman notes that the Wall St. Journal does, as well.
However, James Parks’ post at the AFL-CIONow Blog shows that organized labor fought hard to pass the legislation, knowing the likelihood of defeat, but believing that the organizing effort will help build a movement to pass EFCA in the not-too-distant future. And some Democratic Senators, lead by Sen. Kennedy, fought hard for the reform.
No doubt Dems can do more to pass EFCA in future eforts. But clearly, The 60 Senate votes needed to invoke cloture is a very tough standard. It requires Dems to pick up 9 seats in ’08, and that’s just to get to a floor vote. Dems need 67 Senate votes to override presidential vetoes. In other words a landslide of historic poroportions in 08. A tall order, but a distinct possibility — if current party preference poll trends prevail.

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