As Congress prepares to leave Washington for the holiday season, weary and somewhat battered by the recent health care overhaul debate, the question remains: when – if at all – will the Senate take up the so-called "Employee Free Choice Act" (HR 1409/S 560)?
In a December 14, 2009 article ("The Rose Garden: Card Check Promises a Gut Check in 2010"), Roll Call contributor Keith Koffler outlines the political conundrum President Obama and "card check" supporters face in getting EFCA passed. The basic dilemma is summed up by Koffler this way: "To get EFCA passed, he [Obama] must lean on some of the same politically imperiled moderate Democratic Senators he's pressuring now to approve a health care overhaul–and whose votes may be needed for climate change legislation as well."
The article goes on to suggest that EFCA supporters are optimistic that the Senate will be able to muster 60 votes for cloture and pass the bill in early 2010. To be sure, there are political costs to both enacting EFCA (further imperiling centrist Democrats from swing states who are political targets for the GOP) and to not enacting EFCA (disappointment from activists who helped President Obama and the Democratic Congress rise to power). So who wins out?