After getting the major tax deal passed in the House on Thursday night, the president will sign the bill today and will hand Republicans their first full-fledged victory, before they're even sworn in as the majority party in Congress. But, even as the president prepares to sign the legislation, he's hosting labor leaders at the White House, leaders who have expressed disappointment over the deal and the White House's handling of the law.
On the heels of the late-night Thursday vote, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka released a statement slamming Republicans and the deal."Senate Republicans have shown themselves to be morally bankrupt hypocrites," Trumka said. "This is a huge relief for the more than 1.4 million long-term job seekers...But this deal comes at a terrible price."
Trumka is one of a dozen major labor leaders expected to attend Friday's White House meeting. In addition to Trumka, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten will be at the White House. The AFT has been highly critical of the president and his education secretary Arne Duncan and their consent over mass firings of teachers in a variety of states. But, at this meeting, the leaders are expected to talk about the latest movements on Capitol Hill.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted he'd read that the leaders would probably give an earful to the president on the tax cuts, but declined to give any preview of the afternoon conversation.
For his part, Trumka made it clear no matter how Congress voted, progress has to happen. "We can't throw in the towel and give up now. Too much is at stake. We've got to redouble our efforts and fight harder than ever to move forward for working people."