Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, September 29, 2006

Will Dems Push For Felons On Docks?

You remember how the Dems found their national security voice on the Dubai Ports deal? Suddenly they had a message they could rally around: The need to keep our ports safe.

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.

That should pose no problem for them, of course.

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