The latest is an amendment sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), aimed at blocking lawsuits by employees challenging English-only workplace rules. The amendment was adopted 54-44, with eight mostly moderate Democrats supporting the proposal.
The amendment directs budget writers to take $670,000 away from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — money being used to bring suits against employers who require that only English be spoken on the job — and would transfer the funds to the Department of Education grant program that teaches English and adult literacy.
"In America, if the owner of a business wants to ask his or her employees to speak English on the job, that ought not to be an issue," Alexander said. "…You shouldn’t have to go ask a lawyer to come up with a business reason so you can tell some federal agency why you ask your employees to speak English on the job."
Because the budget resolution is really a blueprint for spending and is nonbinding, this was really just a way to get senators on the record on this divisive issue in the immigration debate. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), complained that the amendment would allow companies to use English-only rules "when they really just want to fire minorities."
The two Democratic presidential candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, voted against the proposal. John McCain, who was in the Senate chamber earlier today, left for a fundraiser in Pennsylvania and missed the vote.
Continue reading post...