Trumka On The Senate Passing Health Care Reform: They Can Do It, They Just Choose Not To Do It

Chris Matthews talks to the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka about the need for at minimum to have a public option in the health care bill. Trumka does a grea
up

Chris Matthews talks to the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka about the need for at minimum to have a public option in the health care bill. Trumka does a great job despite Matthews' badgering and taking a shot at union members by asking him if they're going to "pummel" (Democratic Senators who won't go along) during the interview. Way to advance that "union thugs" meme there Chris.

Matthews: Can you pass a bill like that?

Trumka: Absolutely.

Matthews: How?

Trumka: We’re working on it.

Matthews: Where are you going to get the votes in the Senate?

Trumka: Well I think the President coming out helps us.

Matthews: You think you can get sixty votes in the Senate?

Trumka: I do.

Matthews: Where? Name the Republicans. Name one Republican.

Trumka: Snowe.

Matthews: Okay, name another one.

Trumka: Well, we don’t need another one do we?

Matthews: Oh, so you get every single Democrat to support the public option even though most them, up to five or ten percent of the Senate are saying they’re not going to do that.

Trumka: Well, we’re going to help them do the right thing.

Matthews: Kent Conrad the head of the Budget Committee said he can’t do it. He can’t do it.

Trumka: Well we’re going to help them do the right thing.

Matthews: What, are you going to pummel them? What are you going to do to make it happen? These guys say they can’t do it.

Trumka: We’re going to keep…they can do it, they choose not to do it. That’s what we’ve had in health care across the country for twenty five years. They keep saying “we can’t do it”. They can… they choose not to. It’s time for them to keep their promise to the American public. They said there’d be health insurance reform…

Matthews: These fellas or women represent states represent states that don’t even have Right to Work laws. You’ve got people representing states like Louisiana, Arkansas. There’s a lot of states that have…

Trumka: So what?

Matthews: …Democratic Senators that have a hard time..

Trumka: It doesn’t matter.

Matthews: …taking these liberal positions.

Trumka: It isn’t a liberal position.

Matthews: Isn’t it?

Trumka: This is supported by Republicans, Independents and Democrats. Look at the support for it. Now they came out and tried to muff it up, and tell lies about it.

Matthews: Yeah.

Trumka: And do everything they could to destroy it, but as we get the facts out to them, the support is growing and we need to…

Matthews: Well, imagine you’re Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and you watched the last couple of elections. The Republicans sweep your state, like double digit, double-double digit, and you’re now going back to your state and saying I’m voting for a, the labor position on health care. (crosstalk) I’m going all the way over that far.

Trumka: It isn’t the labor position Chris… and you know better than that.

Matthews: Would you rather have nothing?

Trumka: You know better than that.

Matthews: Would you rather have nothing?

Trumka: Nothing or what?

Matthews: Nothing or a bill that has a trigger in it and bring in a public option if necessary.

Trumka: You can make an argument that if you’re not breaking the strangle hold of those insurance companies, you’re getting nothing.

Trumka goes on to say that the devil is in the details with all of this, and the bottom line is that if the legislation breaks the hold of the insurance companies and they'll be willing to look at whatever is put on the table.

This was from this past Friday's Hardball. Playing a little catch up after taking a few days off for the holiday. I still wanted to post this even though it's a little bit late because I think Trumka did a fantastic job on there.

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