April 01, 2011 10:51 am ET - by Matt Finkelstein
Today, the House is scheduled to vote on a series of amendments to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which contains a controversial GOP-backed provision that would count any rail or aviation workers who do not participate in union elections as "no" votes.
On the House floor last night, Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) blasted his own party's tactics, encouraging members to vote for his bipartisan amendment to strip the union-busting provision from the bill. "Welcome to whack-a-union night," he said, noting that "this will be our fourth, fifth anti-union vote that has nothing to do with the aviation system."
As LaTourette explained, he would not have won his own congressional election under the vote-counting rules in the FAA bill, even though he received about 70 percent of the vote. What's more, with the threat of a government shutdown looming, LaTourette observed that the stoppage would have already happened if the GOP's proposed rules applied to votes in the House (watch below the fold):
LATOURETTE: [T]he president has said the won't sign this bill unless this amendment's adopted, the Senate has declared this a non-starter. And so if we want to give fancy speeches — and for just tuning in around the country,you know, welcome to whack-a-union night, because this will be our fourth, fifth anti-union vote that has nothing to do with the aviation system.
Now in our example, members of Congress, where voter turnout is about 49 percent in the last election — I got 200,000 registered voters in my district, 100,000 show up, I get 70,000. I'm —champagne, you know, "Great, honey, we won another one. We fooled 'em again." Well, I would lose 130 to 70.
[T]he best proof is right here in this House of Representatives. When the old majority was on their way out — and we all know they didn't do anything — when they were on their way out, we needed to pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open until March 4. Well, you know what? Seventy-five of our members went home for Christmas. So that CR to keep the government open passed 193-165. If the Mica rule was kept in place, the government would have shut down and we would have lost that vote 193-240. Please pass the amendment.
UPDATE: The LaTourette amendment failed 206-220, with 16 Republicans voting to strip the union-busting provision.
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