On Tuesday, Senator Arlen Specter R D-Pa. raised expectations when he told the A.F.L.-C.I.O. convention in Pittsburgh that the Senate has “pounded out an Employees Choice bill which will meet labor’s objectives” and predicted it would pass this year. There was only one problem with his announcement, it was fantasy. The Senate presently has 99 members (because of the death of Ted Kennedy) Arlen Specter was the only one of the 99 that knew about the compromise. In other words it never happened.
The Hill spoke to other Senators who tried to politely pull away from Specter’s statement
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), one of several negotiators working to reach agreement on a modified version of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), also known as card-check, said they have made progress toward a deal but have yet to ink one.
Several Democrats on Wednesday confessed to knowing nothing about a proposed deal, and the party’s top two leaders in the conference called the card-check proposal a work in progress.
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“We have had real good discussions,” Carper said. “As they say, frank and honest discussion. I think we have made real progress and narrowed somewhat of the differences between organized labor and the business community. We are not quite there yet. My hope is we will finish what we have started.”
Carper said while negotiations over the bill have come closer to a “consensus approach,” no deal has been brokered. Centrist Democrats, Carper said, have not been included in talks among negotiators so far.
“I don’t think they know because they are not aware of the negotiations or where the middle ground lays,” Carper said. “It just has not been roundly discussed. We will reconvene later this fall.”
The Delaware senator indicated that there have been no formal talks on the union bill since July.
Asked about any deal on the bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said,” I’m not aware of any.”
Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the same, calling the issue “a work in progress” and saying he expects the Democrats’ lead negotiator, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), will inform Democrats when a deal is reached.
“It’s been in progress for months,” Durbin said. “I think if they ever reach common agreement, they’ll notify us and then we will take it from there.”
Centrist Democrats also said they were unaware of any agreement.
“Nothing final, to my knowledge, has been finalized, but I know members from both sides have been working on, I guess, a compromise,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) was surprised to hear the issue was being revived. “From what I understood, the whole card-check issue was dead,” Hagan said.
And Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who faces reelection in 2010 and said earlier this year she would oppose the bill, said she is unaware of any changes. “I haven’t heard or seen anything yet,” Lincoln said.
WOW, this guy is really losing it. This is not a joke, he is reporting deals that never happened, the poor guy must be suffering from some form of dementia. Its sad to see him out in public.