By Ashlie Rodriguez
President Obama may have hoped to appease critics by creating the new, bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, but his appointment of SEIU President Andy Stern to the panel has drawn rebuke from conservatives.
“Either the White House doesn’t read the newspaper or simply doesn’t care, but naming Andy Stern as a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility doesn’t pass the laugh test,” said Katie Packer, executive director of the anti-union Workforce Fairness Institute, in a statement.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., a member of the House Budget Committee, told The Hotline that the appointment “makes sense for Obama’s election efforts and funding for his election, but not about truly getting our deficit under control. This is more of an electoral insurance policy than a deficit reduction plan.”
Packer cited not only the millions donated by SEIU to Democrats in the 2008 campaign, but also reports that the organization has had difficulty meeting its own pension obligations: “The SEIU’s pension fund is in serious trouble, yet the White House wants Big Labor to come up with recommendations on how to reduce the federal deficit?”
Also speaking out against the appointment were the Alliance for Worker Freedom and Americans for Tax Reform, who have requested an investigation into Stern’s “potentially illegal lobbying activities.”
Stern himself released a statement emphasizing his connection to the blue-collar workers who are bearing the brunt of the recession.
“I have talked to thousands of our members, many low-wage workers, who have to make hard choices everyday to make ends meet, while never losing sight of their dreams — to provide a more prosperous future for their families,” Stern said.
“They also want and expect their government to make the right choices: to restore our economic health, make smart long-term investments, create a fiscally sound, and fair economic system that rewards hard work and allows their children and grandchildren to live a better life than their parents,” he added.