House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has moved to kill an amendment that would protect employers from federal lawsuits for requiring their workers to speak English. Among the employers targeted by such lawsuits: the Salvation Army.
Sen. Lamar Alexander, a moderate Republican from Tennessee, is dumbstruck that legislation he views as simple common sense would be blocked. He noted that the full Senate passed his amendment to shield the Salvation Army by 75-19 last month, and the House followed suit with a 218-186 vote just this month. “I cannot imagine that the framers of the 1964 Civil Rights Act intended to say that it’s discrimination for a shoe shop owner to say to his or her employee, ‘I want you to be able to speak America’s common language on the job,’ ” he told the Senate last Thursday…
Sen. Alexander says that if [the bill is blocked], “thousands of small businesses across America will have to show there is some special reason to justify requiring their employees to speak our country’s common language on the job.” He notes that the number of EEOC actions against English-only policies grew to some 200 last year from 32 a decade ago. In an attempt at compromise, he has offered watered-down language that would still allow the EEOC to file many actions, but he says House Democrats rejected it.
Follow the link and you’ll see it’s not really Pelosi who’s pushing this, it’s members of the Hispanic Caucus who told Steny Hoyer to pull the provision or else they wouldn’t vote for reform of the Alternative Minimum Tax. (Hoyer’s reply: “How dare you destroy this party? This will be the worst loss in 10 years.”) Captain Ed considers the perverse economic incentives if the bill fails — a greater reluctance among employers to hire Hispanics being foremost among them — but I’m more interested in the political side. The Times and Journal each have articles out today describing the Democrats’ increasing unease trying to triangulate between Hispanic voters alienated by the GOP’s stance on amnesty and centrists alienated by the left’s open-borders idiocy. Your exit question: Given that most proponents of comprehensive immigration reform, including Her Majesty, concede that learning to speak English must be one of the requirements for amnesty, how exactly do the Dems spin this one if the GOP starts bludgeoning them with it on the trail? Especially in light of some of the nays on this vote taken in March 2006?
Update: “I speak the same language as the people that flew into the towers.”