The death of card check

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., comes out against the Employee Free Choice Act, all but killing the bill.

Published April 6, 2009 11:35PM (EDT)

The Employee Free Choice Act, organized labor's top legislative priority, appears to have died an early death. The bill, which Republicans fiercely oppose, already had little chance of passing, since Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., announced he won't vote to end an expected filibuster of the legislation. But now a key Democrat has come out against the law, which provides for a card check system for approving a union, as well.

On Monday, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., told the Little Rock Political Club that she "can not support that bill in its current form. Can not support and will not support moving it forward in its current form." Lincoln had supported the bill, but her change of heart shouldn't be all that surprising -- her state is home to Wal-Mart, and the chain is decidedly anti-union.

With Lincoln jumping ship, there appears to be little or no chance that the bill can pass. Republicans have threatened a filibuster, and labor's hopes that Democrats could somehow get the 60 votes needed to overcome that maneuver are all but dead now. The Democratic caucus currently stands at 58 members, leaving EFCA three votes short, and Specter was the Republican most likely to cross the aisle.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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