The AFL-CIO, the nation's largest labor federation, decided to officially endorse the final health care bill today, giving the Democrats another ally in their final scramble for votes. The group had been divided over whether to endorse the final bill due to deep-seated concerns about the excise tax—particularly a last-minute provision that increased the rate of the tax’s increase in 2020.
What finally convinced the group to come on board? The AFL-CIO had successfully lobbied for a delay in implementing the excise bill for non-unionized, as well as unionized workers—which also bought them time to push for further changes. “We have 10 years to change something,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said on a conference call this afternoon. “We intend to go out and say to our members, this is what we've accomplished this is what the bill does, this is not the end of health care reform—we still have room to move and we'll continue to fight.” The group also won a commitment from the White House to pass a separate provision that would require construction contractors with more than five workers to provide insurance, which building trade unions have been pushing for.