With the nomination of KS Governor Kathleen Sebelius to head up Health and Human Services, the President once again made no secret of the fact that he beholden to the special interests of organized labor. Though Sebelius was not his first choice, it is no coincidence that she was eventually tapped to fill in for former Senator and recent tax-cheat Tom Daschle to get the top job at HHS.
What's the catch??
There is no question that Sebelius' nomination is a clear signal to the special interests that run the unions across the country that when the President makes his push for a government-run Health Care plan, he will be sure to get the unions involved, so as to pay them back for all the ways in which they helped him ascend to the Presidency.
Governor Sebelius has a strong history with Labor:
- Both AFL-CIO and AFSCME leaders endorsed Sebelius and characterized her as "worthy of consideration because of her solid relationship with labor"
- $100,000 in donations from AFL-CIO, AFSCME, and SEIU...EACH in 2008, and not to mention these donations were received in a year in which Sebelius was NOT running, as she is term-limited
- The hiring of a former Dept. Labor Secretary as her spokesperson in January
- The "$uperfund", which has operated as a money funneling machine for Sebelius, other Kansas Democrats and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
- Sebelius is a strong supporter of "Card Check", Labor's #1 priority
- Vetoed a bill aimed at reforming Workers Comp, siding with Organized Labor
I wrote last week about President Obama's aim to tie in Organized Labor and "Green Jobs", ensuring that federal money will only go to companies willing to do business with the unions. There is a clear pattern being revealed here very early on in the Obama administration, and all signs point to the same type of special interest domination that many in the country are sick and tired of. Will President Obama basically become just an appendage of the AFL-CIO? Could HHS become wrought with Labor reps scouring Sebelius' office each day? Will the Obama Health Care plan become the Labor/Obama/Sebelius Health Care Plan, with provisions ensuring union involvement at as many levels as possible?
As far-fetched as it may sound, it is a very likely possibility considering the early moves by the Obama White House that have already shown big Labor is becoming one of the primary concerns for this White House, and keeping them happy is tops on their agenda.
This post was co-authored by Amir Iljazi, Federal Affairs Associate at Americans for Tax Reform