Republicans Decry Dems’ Deal With Labor
Democrats' breakthrough deal with labor groups on the health overhaul yesterday is now attracting criticism as a handout to special interests, FOX News reports. "The unions, traditional supporters of the Democratic Party and a major factor in Obama's political infrastructure, got a deal," they'll be exempted from paying a Cadillac tax on high-cost insurance plans until 2017 "but Republicans said that non-union workers will still have to pay the tax from the get-go starting in 2013."
"Millions of non-union workers ... would be forced to pay higher taxes for the same benefits their union counterparts," Republican members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee said in a statement. Also, the special exemption for union workers will leave a $60 billion hole in the legislation. Lawmakers may consider applying Medicare payroll taxes to investment income to close it. A Democratic strategist said he wasn't sure that was fair (Garrett and Turner, 1/15).
Separately, "Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) Friday directly appealed to unionized workers to break with their leaders and reject an agreement struck with Democrats on the so-called "Cadillac" health insurance tax," The Hill reports. The rumored 2012 presidential contender posted on her twitter account, "good,hardworking pro-business UnionMEMBERS should oppose their UnionBOSSES backroom deal on this;unfortunately/unfairly paints all of'm bad." The Hill characterizes that as a possible appeal to so-called "Reagan Democrats" (Fabian, 1/15).