The Employee Free Act, passed by the House, was killed by Republican filibuster.
Democrats were unable to get the 60 votes needed to force consideration of the Employee Free Choice Act, ending organized labor's chance to win its top legislative priority from Congress.
The final vote was 51-48.
The outcome was not a surprise, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., saying for months that he would stop the legislation in the Senate. The White House also made it clear that if the bill passed Congress it would be vetoed.
The House passed the bill in March. Democrats and labor unions pressed for a vote in the Senate in hopes of rallying their voters in the 2008 elections, where they hope to win the White House and increase their majorities in the House and Senate.
The vote was near party-line, with only Arlen Specter crossing party lines to vote for cloture.
How often do you see Landrieu and the Nelsons voting with their party on something like this? It's quite a beautiful sight, actually.
As for Republican "moderates", once again we see that Oregon's Smith, Minnesota's Coleman, New Hampshire's Sununu, and Maine's Collins all sided against the rights of workers to organize.
This legislation is dead. Reid could've switched his vote to the "no" side in order to preserve his ability to revisit the issue. But as the article above notes, no one expected this thing to get anywhere near the votes to pass. It was a great way for unions to demonstrate to their memebers (who vote and volunteer for Democrats higher than just about any other group), without ambiguity, which party stands for workers, and which party doesn't.
And with the near-party line vote, with zero Democratic defectors, that distinction was clear as day.
Republican obstructionism in Congress -- on Iraq, on stem cells, on union organizing -- is building a solid electoral case against the GOP in 2008. The electorate will have a chance to vote for this stymied agenda or for its continued obstruction.
If nothing else, congressional Democrats are drawing clear distinctions between them and the guys on the other side of the aisle. And as we've seen, the clearer the distinctions, the better Democrats perform.