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Late Friday Obama Agenda Update

Brad and Marc Ambinder say that George Stephanopoulos has a big scoop: Democrats have chosen to put health care but not cap and trade through the "reconciliation" process, which probably means that health care will pass but cap and trade won't. But I'm not sure Stephanopoulos actually has the goods here. Here's Stephanopoulos's item:

When the White House released its budget, I said the president's effort to reform health care and cap carbon emissions were "scorpions in a bottle" -- only one could make it through Congress this year.

This week, the White House and House Democrats made their choice: health care is the survivor.

As the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post have reported, House Democrats (backed by the White House) plan to write a budget resolution that allows health care to be passed by a simple majority (through the so-called "reconciliation" process) if a bipartisan compromise isn't reached by September.

Cap and trade will not get the same budget protection, and there are nowhere  near 60 votes for it.

Note that he's only reporting on what the House is doing. Nowhere here does he say that the Senate has decided to to this. And of course the Senate is key. So I'm not sure this is a done deal.

Meanwhile, the National Right to Work Committee, a right-wing anti-labor group, emails what does seem to be a real scoop:

As early as next Tuesday, corporate executives with the bulk retailer Costco, the grocery store chain Whole Foods, Inc. and the coffee giant Starbucks appear ready to endorse a so-called "compromise version" of Big Labor's top legislative priority, the Card Check Forced Unionism Bill (H.R. 1409, S. 560).

"These huge companies are apparently willing to sell out hundreds of thousands of small ones under the guise of making some phony and misguided compromise with Big Labor," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Committee.  "We believe we have this draconian bill defeated outright, so these actions may well lead to the bill's passage."

Take away the NRTWC's loaded terms and outrage, this seems like important news. Companies that have humane labor policies have every reason to support broader unionization. And if there's a compromise bill to make it harder for employers to stymie union drives -- the details of which NRTWC doesn't explicate -- that's big news, too.

By the way, I love the subhead on the email:

Companies appear ready to betray own employees, customers, stockholders, and fellow employers

I get the point about "employees" and "customers" losing when unions come in -- the NRWTC claims that prices will rise and employees will lose their jobs. But stockholders? Fellow employers? I know that right-wing business groups believe that unions will bring higher wages, coming at the expense of profits and the ability of fellow businesses to keep wages and benefits low. But they're not supposed to say that. They're just supposed to focus on the poor, poor workers and customers who they really care about.

--Jonathan Chait