Democrats Win One For Clinton Filibuster Forces Gop To Withdraw Effort Against Striker Replacement Ban
Faced with an unbeatable Democratic filibuster, Senate Republicans late Wednesday abandoned an effort to block President Clinton’s order barring federal contractors from permanently replacing striking workers.
After a weeklong struggle, Majority Leader Bob Dole withdrew the measure without comment. But Sen. Nancy Kassebaum, R-Kan., who sponsored the amendment, said she would bring it back in another form later.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who led the Democrats’ efforts to keep the filibuster alive and prevent the certain defeat of the Clinton policy by majority Republicans, said they would do so again if necessary.
“President Clinton has a right to issue his executive order, and we intend to defend it in the Senate as often as we have to,” Kennedy said in a statement.
He called Dole’s move “a gratifying victory for Democrats in the ongoing battle to defend the basic rights of working men and women across the country.”
Hours earlier, the Democrats mustered enough votes to prevent the Republicans from ending the filibuster.
In a 58-39 vote, Republicans fell two short of the 60 needed to force a vote on Kassebaum’s amendment. It would have denied money to carry out Clinton’s order, which bars large federal contracts to employers that permanently replace striking workers.
Wednesday’s vote, along with the March 2 defeat of the balanced-budget amendment, marks the second time this month that the Democrats have used their minority power to thwart Republican-sponsored proposals.
Before Dole pulled the amendment shortly before 7 p.m., neither side had been showing any give.
Continued debate on the striker amendment placed Republicans in a dilemma: The dispute was stalling a supplemental defense spending bill that both sides agree must be passed into law by March 31 to avoid severe cuts in military training.
Dole suspended all further action on the defense spending bill Wednesday evening. He said he would like to bring it back to the floor, minus the Kassebaum amendment, by this afternoon if Democrats will agree to limit their amendments.
Key Republicans earlier had urged Kassebaum to continue the fight, aware that the party’s ability to get its agenda through is already under close scrutiny.
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