Bluegreen Alliance Actively Joins Anti-Filibuster Crusade; GOP Speaker Boehner Throws in Another Congressional Roadblock

WASHINGTON—The BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of unions – led by the Steelworkers – and environmental groups, is actively joining the crusade to immediately break the power of a minority of U.S. senators to kill every initiative via filibusters.
But even as the group adds its weight to the Communications Workers-led anti-filibuster drive, unions and their allies must confront another congressional roadblock to effective legislating, and specifically to immigration reform: The House GOP.
That’s because House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pledged to his caucus on June 18 that no major legislation, including immigration, will come up for votes without support from “a majority of the majority,” i.e. a majority of Republican representatives.
Boehner’s statement is important because it gives his 234-member caucus, and particularly its Tea Party Radical Right bloc, a virtual veto over what Congress does, regardless of the Senate, dissenting Republicans or the House’s 201 Democrats.
 And the Tea Partyites have demonstrated a hard-line attitude on immigration, forcing a bill through the GOP-run House on a party-line vote, to overturn Democratic President Barack Obama’s decision to let the “Dreamers” – college students or youngsters in the military – brought to the U.S. as undocumented children, stay here.
Meanwhile, the BlueGreen Alliance leaders blasted the Senate’s obstructionism.  Besides USW, the alliance includes the Utility Workers and the Auto Workers.
“GOP obstruction has hindered nominations to cabinet positions, including the EPA administrator, Secretary of Labor and National Labor Relations Board nominees, as well as blocking judicial nominees, making the existing caseload unmanageable for many courts,” the alliance’s enthusiastic backing of the anti-filibuster drive said.
“There’s a crisis at the National Labor Relations Board and it’s a direct result of Republican senators’ failure to lead,” Steelworkers President Leo Gerard said. Senators’ “refusal to act” on Democratic President Barack Obama’s NLRB nominees and his nomination of top Justice Department official Thomas Perez to be Labor Secretary “is undermining the ability to protect workers everywhere.”
“More and more, vacancies at key agencies go unfilled while less and less is getting done to ensure safe workplaces and communities,” Gerard added.
“This obstructionism brings our most basic democratic processes to a halt,” said Utility Workers President Mike Langford. “Too many legislative priorities remain tied up in flawed Senate procedure. The Senate’s failure to confirm highly qualified agency nominees and judges is unacceptable and must stop immediately.”
“Key positions created to hold big corporations accountable, shield consumers from fraud and keep working Americans safe are vacant and ineffective because of congressional inaction.  If the Senate is truly interested in giving families the full protection of the law, they’ll break the logjam and confirm the qualified nominees to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Labor Relations Board, and courtrooms across the country,” added Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., lead defender and user of filibusters, retorts that if senators change their rules now to curb the talkathons — by making it easier to shut them off — he’ll respond when the GOP takes over the Senate by, among other things, passing a national right-to-work law.  He also denounces Perez as an extremist.