At the Center for American Progress this week, SEIU President Andy Stern and Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger couldn’t hold in their rage any longer with regards to the election last week in Massachusetts– and its long term implications for labor’s agenda. From the Huffington Post:
Two of the most powerful union officials in the country lashed out at Senate Democrats on Tuesday, jokingly calling some of them legislative “terrorists” and slamming leadership for “squandering” a supermajority in the Senate. […] “Because there are a lot of terrorist in the senate who think we are supposed to negotiate with them when they have their particular needs that they want met,” [Stern] added.
“Are the Senate rules really appropriate for a 21st-century country where we can create gridlock by very limited hard work,” Stern added. “if we are going to have filibusters lets at least have a debate. At least make people go to the floor. Let’s put the cots on the floor permanently…Change can easily die in the wells of the Senate.” Asked how badly he wanted filibuster reform, he replied: “Very badly.”
Stern’s lament of the Democratic Party’s inability to get legislative action done, even with its supermajority, was shared by his co-panelist and labor colleague, Anna Burger, head of Change to Win. “I woke up Tuesday and we have 60 seats in the Senate and we couldn’t count 60 votes,” she said. “I woke up Wednesday morning and we had 59 seats in the Senate and we still couldn’t count 60 votes.”