"Kristin" asks via email:
Does the AS switch impact the EFCA at all?
Decoding this query, I take it to be about the likelihood of passage for the Employee Free Choice Act (pro-labor "card-check" legislation), now that Senator Arlen Specter has switched parties.
Specter's opposition to EFCA is a big reason why the bill is currently stuck; the Democrats don't have 60 votes to force cloture and have a Senate vote.
Specter, in his official statement today, said that he will remain opposed to EFCA, and seemed to suggest that he would vote against cloture, but in my reading left that door open -- and that's the important door, because the Democrats don't need his vote on the bill, just on cloture.
And by the way, I think it's really annoying that cloture is not spelled closure, and I think there should be an agreement to change it. But I digress.
This is going to be a very big discussion -- and already is this afternoon -- because you don't win the Democratic Senate nomination in Pennsylvania without labor, and labor's gonna want some skin before jumping on board with Specter.
I happen to think that the Dems don't have cloture on EFCA even with Specter -- and in fact I think there are several Senators who really really want the damn thing to not come to a vote, at least in its current iteration. So it might actually be part of the deal that Specter will continue to oppose, providing an excuse to postpone the vote for a while. But it's equally possible that Specter and a few other Dems will agree to vote for cloture and against the bill.