Will Dems Push For Felons On Docks?
Lately, Nan Pelosi has been repeating the message as a core campaign theme: Bush hasn't sealed the ports, so let's let the Dems take care of business.
But now that the Dem-backing longshoreman's union has come out against port security, what's Nan & Co to do? Here's the story, from an editorial in today's WSJ:
House and Senate conferees are trying to work out a final port security bill this week, and a provision sponsored by Senator Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) would prohibit dock workers convicted of certain felonies -- including murder, espionage or treason -- from obtaining access to secure areas. Workers convicted of other felonies -- say, extortion, smuggling, bribery, identity fraud or the unlawful possession or distribution of firearms -- would be prevented from getting clearance until seven years after conviction. The Department of Homeland Security has issued a similar regulation, though it isn't final.
Yet the longshoremen's union -- the same outfit behind the 2002 West Coast port shutdown -- and its labor allies are muscling Congress to strike the DeMint provision. Larry Willis, the general counsel for the Transportation Trades Department at the AFL-CIO, says that the felonious categories that would bar workers are "too broad."
This isn't the sort of Congressional debate that bathes in a media spotlight, so the Dems will probably feel comfortable voting for union money instead of national security. Then they'll have to lie about their position on port security.
Related Tags: Ports, Security, National security, Politics, Longshoremen