Roll Call reported ($) that Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, the chief sponsor of EFCA, announced that he will be ready to bring EFCA to the Senate floor in a month. Harkin said he will not take any action until Al Franken is sworn in as Minnesota’s senator. Franken would be the 60th Democrat in the Senate, which technically is enough to avoid a filibuster.
The article reports that Harkin has met regularly with Senators Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Charles Schumer of New York, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania to work on some form of a compromise. Harkin included AFL-CIO legislative director Bill Samuels in the talks, which the article classifed as “an indication that progress is being made.” Although Harkin claims he speaks with them regularly, Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California have been excluded from the closed-door meetings. Both senators have publicly voiced concerns with EFCA.
It will be interesting to see what sort of “compromise” Harkin arrives at.
When asked if the labor industry would agree to any measure that does not include that provision [card check], Harkin seemed uncertain, saying it’s one “of about three problems I have right now.”
Remember that Specter claims he objects to card check, even though he told labor activists last weekend that they would be satisfied with his vote.