Monday, December 15, 2008

Corker: Bush and UAW In Cahoots

One of the theories coming out of the failure of the auto bailout in the Senate is that when Dick Cheney met with Senate Republicans last week and imparted the administration's commitment to saving the big three, he was essentially freeing them to vote as they'd like. Why would the Senate GOP take it as a chance to breakout? Because Cheney's posturing basically confirmed that the administration would step in and use the TARP to help the auto industry if Senators refused to vote for cloture.

Senate Republicans from the South ended up whipping enough votes together to kill the bill, apparently because organized labor had refused to accept a definitive date by which their members' middle class salaries would be drawn and quartered. Another sticking point for holdout Republicans was that they wanted the blue collar employees of the Big 3 to agree to a salary reduction to the same levels as foreign manufacturers, whereas there was some degree of bipartisan support for a language that required salary reduction to "competitive" levels.

The GOP holdouts then went on a PR blitz to explain why the bill failed, funneling all blame squarely onto the shoulders of the UAW. Countdown obtained a GOP talking points memo that illustrates their view of this battle as a critical part of a larger war against organized labor.

This is the democrats first opportunity to payoff organized labor after the election. This is a precursor to card check and other items. Republicans should stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor, instead of taking their first blow from it.

For me, it's pretty difficult to picture organized labor being able to pitch the passage of the bill as any kind of victory, given the massive wage and benefits cuts they'd agreed to, but I guess that's beside the point now.

Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee appears to have spearheaded bill negotiation for the Republicans. He went on Face the Nation yesterday and pitted blame squarely on the shoulders of the UAW, but with an interesting new twist.

Corker: They (UAW) knew the White House had these TARP funds and there was really no reason for them to agree to this.

Scheiffer: So they had gotten word from the White House that they were going to do it anyway and that's what killed the deal in the Senate?

Corker: Well, they knew they had the funds. I'm not blaming the White House but they knew that the White House had funds that they could put forth without any strings.

Carl Levin tried to cut in but Schieffer went to a break.

Seems kind of ridiculous to me that Corker would offer that the White House had been sending signals to the UAW about this thing. Seems like it's a lot more likely that the Republican White House was talking to their own Republican Senators about their intention to use the TARP, so that Southern Republicans could use the vote to score media points against organized labor for later use. Just saying.


jeffrey said...

Corker spent all day Friday telling people that the deal-breaker was UAW's refusal to agree to a "specific date certain" by which they would guarantee a wage structure that the new "car czar" would deem "competitive" with foreign automakers'.

The very fact that this entire debate has generated a national "unions are bad for the economy" discussion represents a net win for the Republicans.

mominem said...

As long as Unions continue to play to their members worst fears and act like its 1920, they are open to that charge. They need to change their game.