This week new AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka took up the public option cause in a White House meeting with Rahm Emanuel. Today Andy Stern warns that there will be a steep price to pay for any Dems opposing healthcare reform.
Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, said he could "honor all the Nelsons" in the Senate "whether Ben [of Nebraska] or Bill [of Florida]" if they chose to ultimately oppose a reform bill on philosophical grounds. "What I don't find acceptable," Stern told the Huffington Post, "is that we are going to use procedure to stop discussion."
There are 60 senators caucusing as Democrats, and that should mean something, Stern said. "If the Democrats have told people like ourselves, supporters for a long time, 'Just give us 60 votes. Give us the money, give us 60 votes and we will show you what we can do.' Well, it's show time," said Stern. It takes 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.
"The Democrats could close the door in the Senate and take a vote right there," he said. "The question really for them, which is much bigger than health care, is are they going to shoot themselves in the foot on bill after bill by allowing individual senators to all the sudden become king or queen for the day?"
Specifically talking about the public option, he "stressed that the union remained 'fully committed' to the public plan. 'We just can't understand why it now can't happen.'" He's right, there's no reason now for it not to happen. The American people want it, and don't give a damn if it's "bipartisan" or not. The "there isn't 60 votes for it" excuse is ringing ever more hollow, and there will be hell to pay for any Dem Senator who stands in the way of real reform using that one.