Bailout First Skirmish in GOP, UAW Battle

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2008 5:35 PM CST
A pedestrian walks by graffiti in downtown Detroit.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The defeat of the Detroit bailout bill by Senate Republicans is seen by some in Washington as a preemptive strike against organized labor, the Los Angeles Times reports. The GOP framed their opposition partly as a message to the United Auto Workers, claiming high wages were the cause of Detroit’s troubles. Many nay votes came from Senators in right-to-work states in the South and West.

Labor strongly backed Barack Obama, and Republicans think the Democrats will attempt to repay the debt by pushing laws that make it easier to form unions. “Congress never should have given these unions this much power, and now is the time to fix it,” one GOP opponent said. Democrats found the argument hypocritical. “They never ask about banker salaries,” one senator said.