Card Check fading in the Senate?

Today, Democrats in both chambers of Congress will carry Big Labor’s water and introduce the Employee Free Choice Act, better known as Card Check.  With wide majorities in both the House and Senate, Barack Obama shold expect to see the bill on his desk soon.  However, the Wall Street Journal reports that several key Senators have second thoughts about their support, now that it will really count — including one RINO who could make the difference:

Key Senate Democrats are wavering in their support of legislation that would give more power to labor unions, dealing a setback to labor’s top priority as businesses warn of the damage the bill would cause. …

At least six Senators who have voted to move forward with the so-called card-check proposal, including one Republican, now say they are opposed or not sure — an indication that Senate Democratic leaders are short of the 60 votes they need for approval.

The legislation is divisive and distracting, said Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln in an interview Monday. The Democratic lawmaker, who was previously seen as a supporter, said the Senate should focus on creating jobs and improving the U.S. economy. “I have 90,000 Arkansans who need a job, that’s my No. 1 priority,” she said. The legislation, she said, would be “divisive and we don’t need that right now. We need to focus on the things that are more important.”

Sen. Lincoln is one of several moderate Democrats expressing doubts about the Employee Free Choice Act. … Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor are among the Democratic lawmakers who have backed off their previous support.

The list includes one RINO who suddenly discovered he was on an endangered-species list.  Arlen Specter voted for Card Check in 2007, the last time it hit the floor, but the vote then was relatively safe.  Even with a slim Democratic majority, it had no real chance of passing Congress, and then-President Bush had already vowed to veto it.  As John Kline said in his conference call, a yes vote was a safe way to pander to union constituencies without having any chance of doing real damage.

Circumstances changed with the election of Barack Obama and the establishment of a near-filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  A yes vote is no longer safe, but will likely result in the implementation of Card Check.  It’s one of the GOP’s biggest legislative priorities, along with FOCA, and a betrayal here will cinch the GOP effort to unseat Specter in 2010.  After all, if he won’t oppose Card Check, what part of the Obama agenda will he not support?

In my interview with Jim DeMint, the conservative Senator predicted that Landrieu, Pryor, and Lincoln would peel away from the more liberal efforts in the Democratic agenda.  It appears that may happen here.  They have gone out of their way to avoid taking a position on Card Check, and that has to have Harry Reid worried.  Like Specter, the three Democrats now wonder whether this is the time to raise costs on business and to endorse government intervention in labor disputes.  They’re worried about overreach and 2010.  And they should be.

Previous posts on Card Check: