I Thought "Card Check" Was Dead....

I can count. To 60. And Senate Democrats don't have 60 votes now. Unless someone changes his or her mind, they won't have 60 votes by the end of the year. Card check -- the Employee Free Choice Act -- is as dead as Audrina's eyes.  But wait. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending $1 million to run ads in Nebraska, Virginia, Louisiana, North Dakota and Colorado. The aids are aimed at senators who might be a swing vote on EFCA.  If EFCA has been pronounced, as they say in the ER, then why bother?   Why is W. Mitt Romney blasting EFCA on a conference call with reporters?, Why, come to think of it, have the SEIU, the Change to Win coalition and the AFL-CIO ramped up their EFCA campaigns? "Well, they've got to spend money on something," was how one wag answered my question. This means: they've got to convince their members that they're fighting the good fight.  But I suspect that something else is at work -- I think the Congress and White House and labor are quietly trying to figure out a way to write a compromise version of EFCA that would pick off a couple of waverers.. On the face on it, that seems hard. I can't imagine that labor would yield on the core of the bill -- binding arbitration and majority card check -- nor can I see business groups saying yes to legislation that contains even watered down versions of those principles. I think the Chamber and other business groups are afraid of a compromise that would eschew card check for some sort of binding arbitration process. The business community has to make sure it didn't hold its nose on card-check and wind up finding that the main course is binding arbitration. Also: this is a Democratic Congress. Something ugly (from the business community's perspective) could come out of a Senate conference committee if business lets go of its grip.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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