Thursday, February 15, 2007

Democrats Like Business Lobbyists, but Love Unions

Roll Call ($) reports that Congressional Democrats are improving their coordination with K Street.

As Congressional Democrats firm their grip on power, they are opening a regular channel of communication with corporate lobbyists.

Leaders from the new majorities in both chambers have begun meeting twice a month with K Street allies to keep them apprised of their agenda and strategy.

The huddles, organized by the centrist think tank Third Way, are bringing together as many as 80 lobbyists to hear updates from Democratic leadership aides...

Unlike their predecessors in the GOP, Democratic leaders face the challenge of juggling two key but regularly conflicting constituencies: business and labor. While members of those two camps found a few areas of agreement during the previous Congress — most notably on pension and immigration reform — they are ramping up for battles on big-ticket items this year. They already have locked horns on a minimum-wage hike and foresee major clashes over health care, trade and union-organizing measures.

And while Democratic leaders are keeping corporate interests attuned to their plans, they are closely coordinating with labor unions, whose backing helped restore the party to power. On Wednesday, presidents of about a half-dozen major unions met with majority leaders in both chambers to discuss their priorities. Twenty-two Senators, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), turned out for one meeting. Union officials got a separate audience with a full complement of leaders on the other side of the Capitol, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), according to those in attendance.

No one can serve two masters, for he will love the one and hate the other. It's pretty clear whom the Democrats love, and members of the business community go in with no illusions about the support they will or won't receive.

But it's nice to know that once again, while the Democrats promised to change Washington, they're closely coordinating with the representatives of about 12 percent of the workers in the US - most of them government employees. Undoubtedly, these are some of the folks helping John Murtha bleed US forces abroad. Wonder what they'll get for the effort?

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