On the campaign trail, Michele Bachmann likes to claim that she is a true “constitutional conservative”. The truth is, Michele Bachmann is not being honest when she says this. No “constitutional conservative” would support a bill that forces states to give collective bargaining rights to public safety employees, flying directly in the face of the 10th Amendment.
In 2007, Bachmann co-sponsored HR 980, A.K.A. the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2007.” What did this bill do? This bill would have given the federal government unprecedented power over the states and their relationship with public employee unions. The bill forced states to give collective bargaining rights t0 public safety employees. It was specifically targeted at Virginia and North Carolina, two states where public safety employees had no collective bargaining rights. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think the federal government has any right to pass a law to target specific state laws. Isn’t this why we have the 10th Amendment, to protect states from the federal government? Apparently the 10th Amendment is one part of the constitution Michele Bachmann chose to ignore. I also think it is important for Michele Bachmann to answer why she opposed an unfunded mandate for health care, but supported one for unions?
Not only was HR 980 unconstitutional, but it would have cost the federal government and various state and local governments millions of dollars. According to the CBO, this bill would have cost the federal government $44 million. It would have put a huge burden on state and local governments already struggling to balance their budgets under a recession and more intrusion of this kind by the federal government.
Sometimes, you can learn all you need to know about a bill based on its supporters and opponents. Who joined Michele Bachmann in supporting this bill? Barack Obama. Ted Kennedy. Barbara Boxer. Hillary Clinton. Sherrod Brown. Bernie Sanders. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. The AFSCME. The AFL-CIO. 99% of House Democrats. Who opposed this bill? Jim DeMint. Steve King. Mike Pence. Americans for Prosperity. The Heritage Foundation. The National Right to Work Committee. And what did Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff have to say about this bill? “[HR 980] represents an unprecedented intrusion into state and local decision making, potentially disrupting our nation’s carefully developed emergency response functions, and raises serious Constitutional questions under the 10th Amendment.” What did the Citizens Outreach Project, a conservative advocacy group, say about this bill? “H.R. 980 is not legislation dealing with public safety or security. It is a raw, blatant pay-off to union officials. Failing to attract members on their merits, unions have turned to their allies in Congress to have government impose them on workers.” Michele Bachmann was one of those union allies.
Supporters of this bill argue that it would have increased public safety. That is simply not the case. The National League of Cities, the National Sherriff’s Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Association of Counties all opposed this bill, partly because they felt it would harm public safety, and partially because of the burden it would have on their budgets.
There you have it. Michele Bachmann supported unions,increased spending, harming our safety, and giving the federal government even more power over the states. At a time when Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans are taking away collective bargaining because of its cost to the state, Michele Bachmann wanted to force them to give collective bargaining rights to move employees, making balancing the budget without tax increases that much harder.
I know many of you will want to see my sources, so here they are: