The Senate's leaders moved closer today toward a head-on collision over using the 9/11 bill to give collective bargaining rights to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners, a provision that already has sparked a White House veto threat. The bill is now on the floor.
Senate Republicans have followed the lead of their House counterparts, who are countering a House Democratic plan to call up another pro-union measure later today. Republicans have blasted Democrats, arguing that the bill is a giveaway to the labor interests that have given crucial political support to the new majority. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told his party's faithful at today's Conservative Political Action Conference that Republicans would stay united to sustain any presidential veto of the 9/11 bill.
While it would be a shame to see a good bill get derailed over the right's perverse fear of all things union, I kind of hope they do back Bush if he vetos this, beause I dont see any way Smith or Collins, or Coleman will be able to explain their way out of this one. What are they going to say? "Preventing workers from forming unions is more important than the Nation's security"? Let Bush veto this, and let him veto the Employee Free Choice Act, which passed the House today. 20% of the American public would join a union if they were given the opportunity, yet union membership is at an all time low 12% today and the Bush Administration and Republican Congress want to limit the right to unionize as much as possible.