Card-check lives: ‘A lot of things can happen in a lame-duck session’ 

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is so determined to reward Democrats’ labor union donors that he is now openly discussing the possibility of passing pro-union legislation after voters have already rendered a verdict on the union-friendly 111th Congress.

A lot of things can happen in a lame-duck session,” he told The Hill today.

Even if voters remove Democrats from power in the November elections, their new choices for Congress will not be seated until January. This leaves nearly two months for the exiting Congress — commonly referred to as a “lame duck” Congress — to enact unpopular laws that might have otherwise cost them more seats in the preceding election.

One such law is the so-called “card-check” bill, which takes away employees’ right to vote secretly against unionizing and skews the balance in favor of labor unions during negotiations with newly unionized employers. Labor unions see the bill as essential in saving their many under-funded multi-employer pension plans. The bill’s binding arbitration provision could force many employers to enter the unions’ underfunded pension plans, taking away their employees’ opportunity to contribute to tax-deferred 401(k) retirement plans.

There has been some talk of enacting both union-friendly legislation and a cap-and-trade bill during the lame-duck Congress. Such talk is intended to keep left-wing special interests like organized labor and the green movement on the reservation, but it’s quite careless. Expect to see Republican challengers call on their opponents to pledge they won’t pass lame-duck legislation if they lose re-election.

About The Author

David Freddoso

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David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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