Obama to Address Labor Union

5192097President Obama will speak at the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh next month, the White House announced today, on a date that could prove to be pivotal in the health care debate.

The president will address the labor union on Sept. 15, the date on which Senate Democrats may decide to abandon efforts at bipartisanship. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has been working with a few members of the Senate Finance Committee to shape a compromise bill, but he said he would press forward without GOP support by that date.

The AFL-CIO's up-and-coming president reportedly said today that Democrats must support a government-run health insurance plan, or "public option," with or without Republican votes.

"I think they need to understand that that you can have a bill that guarantees quality, affordable health care for every American, or you can have a bill the Republicans will vote for," Richard Trumka, currently the AFL-CIO's secretary-treasurer, said today, according to the Associated Press. "But you can't have both."

Trumka, who is positioned to become the next AFL-CIO president, reportedly repeated his assertion that the AFL-CIO will pull its support for Democrats who do not advocate for a public option.

Mr. Obama, who has said that a public option is not essential for health care reform, benefitted from the endorsement of labor unions in the 2008 presidential election.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care



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