From The Hill, “Dems warn Baucus with gavel threat“:
In an apparent warning to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), some liberal Democrats have suggested a secret-ballot vote every two years on whether or not to strip committee chairmen of their gavels.
Baucus, who is more conservative than most of the Democratic Conference, has frustrated many of his liberal colleagues by negotiating for weeks with Republicans over healthcare reform without producing a bill or even much detail about the policies he is considering.
“Every two years the caucus could have a secret ballot on whether a chairman should continue, yes or no,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “If the ‘no’s win, [the chairman’s] out.
“I’ve heard it talked about before,” he added.
Senator Harkin is the chief Senate carrier of the Employee Free Choice Act, which eliminates secret ballots in the workplace during union representation elections.
In other speculation-rife speculation, here’s more speculation about Senate Majority Reid’s plans for the legislation. From The Examiner, “Reid plan could force Card Check without compromise.” Reporter Kevin Mooney cites the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace — in which the National Association for Manufacturers is an active member — reacting to the casually sourced Roll Call article about the possibility of union-legislation being “railroaded” through the Senate.
“Forced card check coupled with the job-killing binding interest arbitration provision suggests that the EFCA still remains politically toxic, despite efforts to produce what appears to be a one-sided ‘compromise,’ ” said Brian Worth, chairman of the CDW. “Apparently ‘compromise’ means whatever Big Labor can get passed notwithstanding their ultimate plan for denying workers secret ballots.”
We tend to think an attempt to shove the Employee Free Choice Act through the Senate in a brutal power play would be even more politically toxic. So the Roll Call story was yet another trial balloon from labor, trying to identify some strategy that might work.
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