Collapse: AFL-CIO, SEIU hold emergency meetings, may oppose ObamaCare

posted at 4:07 pm on December 16, 2009 by Allahpundit

The purple people-beaters already dropped out of an event to promote the bill earlier today. Now this. Dude, it’s like the KISS army turning on Gene Simmons.

Let the Democratic civil war begin.

Though there’s no official word yet, early indications based on talks with various officials are that the groups will either formally oppose the legislation or, less dramatically, just not fight very hard to ensure its passage.

Labor leaders are fuming at the concessions that Democratic leadership made in the last few days to win the support of the caucus’s most conservative members, notably Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.). A bill that already included one highly objectionable provision (a tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans) was stripped of a provision beloved by labor: a public alternative to private insurance coverage. Frustration boiled over even further after the leadership succumbed to Lieberman’s demand to jettison even the compromise to the public option — a proposal to expand Medicare to those as young as 55…

As one high-ranking labor official emailed the Huffington Post:

“What is really frustrating folks here is that it’s impossible to make and implement plans to pressure senators when the White House and Reid keep undermining the efforts no one from the outside can put any credible pressure on Senators because they know the White House will back that Senator up whatever they do. If the White House is going to cave to a Senator who spent the entire election campaigning with McCain and calling Obama a traitor how are we supposed to have any leverage over anyone?”

Needless to say, the bill’s never been closer to total collapse than it is now. If the unions say no, then at the very least House progressives will oppose a ping-pong strategy and demand a conference on the Senate bill; at best, we’ll see a few progressives like Feingold in the Senate decide they can’t go forward without a public option. Which means it’s either reconciliation or bust for Reid. A small suggestion for those who’ve been calling Blue Dogs like Nelson to urge them to oppose: Start calling liberals like Sanders and telling them that America deserves a strong, vibrant, robust public option. Stand strong, socialists!

As for other fronts of the civil war, here’s what my map shows. Lefties like Michael Moore and Rosa de Lauro blame the centrist Lieberman and want him recalled from office, even though, um, Connecticut has no recall procedure. Democrats like Gibbs and Jay Rockefeller who are desperate to pass a bill blame the liberal Howard Dean for rallying the nutroots at the eleventh hour to kill it. House Democrats blame the Senate for never getting anything done, with Pelosi now reportedly promising exposed Blue Dogs that she won’t make them take any more tough votes next year unless and until Reid has passed his half of each bill first. And Harry Reid … just sounds lost, frankly. Exit question one: How come so many liberals seem to want to do away with the Senate these days when it’s the Senate that more accurately reflects public sentiment right now than the House? Exit question two: Is NBC right? Is this Dean-o’s revenge on Obama?

Update: Start calling.

“I have real concerns with this bill as it stands right now,” Sanders told reporters Wednesday. “So I’m not on board yet. At this moment, I am an undecided,” he said. “We’re working hard to try to make this bill be a better bill. I would like to support it but I’m not there yet.”

Update: Ah, a new scapegoat emerges. And this time it’s The One himself.

“The president keeps listening to Rahm Emanuel,” said Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.). “No public option, no extending Medicare to 55, no nothing, an excise tax, God!” he exclaimed about the Senate health care bill to Roll Call. “The insurance lobby is taking over.”

Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), told Politico of Senate delays, “It’s ridiculous, and the Obama administration is sitting on the sidelines. That’s nonsense.”*

While many House Democrats have expressed anger with the Senate for the watered-down bill, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) argued that it was really Obama who let centrists take control. “Snowe? Stupak? Lieberman? Who left these people in charge?” he said. “It’s time for the president to get his hands dirty. Some of us have compromised our compromised compromise. We need the president to stand up for the values our party shares. We must stop letting the tail wag the dog of this debate.”

Memo to Weiner: The guy’s polls are in the toilet. Who’s he going to muscle at this point?

Update: Karl wonders what it’ll cost the Democrats to buy back labor’s favor. Card Check?

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We’ll see if Zero can save the day in Copenhagen.

No new draft

The Danish presidency had planned to put foward a draft agreement today, but the G-77 have blocked progress.

Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen is now expected to take the floor as soon as possible and set up two contact groups.

Under the leadership of Climate Summit Minister and upcoming EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard the two groups will be working on the two tracks that already exist: Kyoto and the Climate Convention.

According to’s sources the Danish presidency received the go ahead from the G-77 to move along this track, effectively moving the negotiations back to last Friday when the presidency took stock of the two tracks after the first week.

Oe source tells the Danish national news agency Ritzau that the Danish move may be a tactical one.

“It is an attempt to place the responsibility on someone else and open the possibility that the heads of state and government can come and save the day,” the report quotes the source as saying.

Mr Purple on December 17, 2009 at 8:01 AM

I’ve been reading the Kos comments and you’d think by not passing ObamaCare, every man woman and child in the US will die next year or something. Liberalism is a mental disease I know, but jeez, even for the nutroots they’re crazier than their usual selves over this one.

angryed on December 17, 2009 at 8:05 AM

So,its up to Ben Nelson from Nebraska to put the vote
over the top for zee Liberals!!

So far,he’s holding out!!

canopfor on December 17, 2009 at 8:06 AM

These specific unions will be awarded the government contracts providing for the importation of the world’s worst terrorists into the USA.

maverick muse on December 17, 2009 at 8:13 AM

Adjoran on December 17, 2009 at 4:46 AM

They have all the parts in place to enact whatever legislation they see fit. If they don’t do it now – then another chance may be a long way off.

That’s where the urgency comes in. It’s now or maybe decades before they get this chance again.

Mr Purple on December 17, 2009 at 8:17 AM

as predicted, SEIU caved, they will NOT fight, but they use the word FIGHT many times

anyone want to take my bet that a carve out for labor appears in the dead of night exempting them from the excise tax? anyone? I need the dough!

BenSmith Politico has it

The SEIU, like the AFL-CIO, announced this morning that it will wait and see what comes from the manager’s amendment to the health care reform legislation, which isn’t expected to substantially alter what’s now known about the bill.

In a long letter to his members, SEIU President Andrew Stern uses the word “fight” 14 times — but ultimately says that, like the AFL, the union will focus on what appears to be a fairly slim chance of changing the legislation, and ignore, for now, Howard Dean’s call to scuttle it.

ginaswo on December 17, 2009 at 9:37 AM

PS no on the card check, pelosi is on record yesterday saying NO MORE TOUGH VOTES for the house until AFTER the Senate has passed it

and the Sen will not be passing card check anytime soon

so it is a carve out for the taxation they will get, betcha Rockefeller slips it in for his coal miners

ginaswo on December 17, 2009 at 9:38 AM

Well, here’s part of what SEIU sent members in my office yesterday:

With only a few senators standing in the way of affordable health care for all Americans, we must let our voices be heard this holiday season.

SEIU Local 1000 has adopted three U.S. Senators to call and send the message that they must “Give Americans a vote for real health insurance reform that makes care affordable for everyone.”
We need your help!

Please call the following Senators on Dec. 16, 17 and 18:
Sen. Ben Nelson (NE): 202-224-6551
Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA): 202-224-5824
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR): 202-224-4843

PattyJ on December 17, 2009 at 10:45 AM

If we are very, very lucky the party of the left will implode over this. It is my understanding from friends on the left coast that Reid is running three in a three person race. Best news I’ve had in months. If those concerned with ideological purity on the left want to let a few blue dogs die, then fine – as long as the republican replacement has some common sense. Something that few of them have demonstrated up to this point. Ultimately it will come down to who can and can not be bought off, and if you think that Olympia Snow will not be bought off, watch your back, because they are coming to get you.

georgeofthedesert on December 17, 2009 at 12:29 PM

BO is incapable of shouldering responsibility for anything.
As with all true narcissists, the will NEVER come when he admits that he screwed up.

Badger40 on December 17, 2009 at 1:13 PM