In his announcement, Senator Specter states that he will not be “an automatic 60th vote for cloture” and that his position on the Employee Free Choice Act will not change.
Sen. Specter declared last month that he couldn’t support the card-check provision of EFCA presently. He left open the possibility that his position on card check could change with an improvement in the economy.
Many speculated that Specter’s declared opposition to card check was motivated in part by polls showing him getting trounced in a GOP primary. Consequently, he moved to the right on EFCA.
But now that he’s a Democrat, he’s going to get enormous pressure from labor and allied Democrat constituencies to support card check. If he doesn’t, he’ll face a well-financed, well-organized, labor-supported opponent in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary.
Specter’s announced opposition to card check gave cover to a few Democratic senators to express reservations concerning the provision. Now that Specter’s a Democrat and a Democrat-only cloture vote is a numerical possibility (i.e., should Franken prevail), the pressure on Democrats to pass EFCA (with card check) increases. They can no longer give Labor the excuse that Republicans can block cloture.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Specter conclude that the economy is, in fact, beginning to improve — far sooner than most economists had expected. That would permit him to reconsider his opposition to card check.
Even less surprising would be some movement on an EFCA bill containing quickie elections and equal access.