On Sunday, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Kevin Ferris wrote a column describing Sen. Arlen Specter’s (D-PA) tiptoeing around the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Specter is one of the senators working with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) to salvage the bill, and Ferris wrote that Specter — who earlier in the year announced his intention to oppose the bill — needs EFCA to pass, as he “now needs labor support because of the expected primary challenge from U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.”
In response to the column, Specter wrote a Letter to the Editor claiming that his stance on EFCA has been consistent:
I have no hesitancy in stating my own views. I have voted to have the Senate consider the modification of labor law to reform the way unions are certified and to provide procedures for negotiating first contracts. Earlier this year, I made a floor statement opposing giving up the secret ballot and suggesting the last-best-offer procedure on arbitration. My views on this subject have been consistent, and suggestions to the contrary by those intending to run against me are incorrect.
As Dan Hirschhorn at PA2010.com pointed out, “only Specter knows what his true views are, and while they may be consistent, his actions on the legislation have been anything but.”
Indeed, Specter was a co-sponsor of the bill and voted for cloture when the Senate considered it in 2007. However, earlier this year (before switching parties), Specter took to the Senate floor to announce that he would vote against cloture. Even after the party switch, Specter released a statement emphasizing that “my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.”
But last month, Specter addressed a crowd of union activists and told them “I believe you’ll be satisfied with my vote on this issue.” So the only thing Specter has really been consistent on is a consistent willingness to wobble back and forth on the issue.
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.