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Andy Stern To Congress: Forget About Labor If You Hack Up Healthcare Bill

I'd say "fear masquerading as a strategy" pretty well sums things up! Andy Stern sends a not-so-subtle signal to Congress and the administration tha

I'd say "fear masquerading as a strategy" pretty well sums things up! Andy Stern sends a not-so-subtle signal to Congress and the administration that if they start hacking up the health care bill, they can forget about labor support in the midterms:

SEIU chief Andy Stern took a hard shot at Dem leaders just now for considering a scaled-down health care bill, strongly hinting that labor might not work as hard for Dem candidates in 2010 if they failed to deliver real and comprehensive reform.

“It’s gonna be incredibly difficult to stay focused on national politics if by the end of 2010 we have minimal health care and minimal changes on what’s important to our members,” he said in an interview, ridiculing the emerging Dem approach as “fear masquerading as a strategy.”

Stern unloaded on Dem leaders in response to reports today that they’re mulling either a scaled down bill to win GOPers or a broken up bill passed in pieces. His anger suggests Dems risk paying a big price with labor if they fail to figure out how to pass the Senate bill and fix it later, as labor wants.

Stern hinted that if House and Senate members don’t move forward with the Senate bill and some kind of fix, they could see union members spending more time on races for governor, perhaps at the expense of their reelection campaigns. “If something significant doesn’t happen in Congress, I hope the legislators appreciate that there are 37 governors races important to our members,” Stern said suggestively.

Stern ridiculed the idea that breaking up the bill would allow Dems to challenge Republicans with tit-for-tat legislative maneuvers. “It’s classic inside Washington to think that people who can’t afford insurance want to keep score between the Democrats and the Republicans,” he said. “They want to go to bed with a sense of security.”

Concluded Stern: “For the 31 million people who don’t have health care, for the 14,000 who lose it every day, for the 120 people who die every day, they elected this Congress to make change, not to set their sights lower when the going gets tough.”

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