WASHINGTON — Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania yesterday said he would join the Democratic Party and leave the Republicans, which puts the Senate closer to a 60-seat Democratic majority.
However, Specter said he remained opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill in both houses that is opposed by retailers and supported by unions.
"My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans," he said in a statement. "I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change."
Specter actually becomes the 59th Democratic senator, with one race still being contested in Minnesota between Democrat Al Franken and longtime food-industry supporter Norm Coleman, a Republican who is contesting Franken's close victory in the most recent tally of votes. With 60 Senate seats, Democrats could block Republican filibusters and push through some legislation.
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