Is Bennet using EFCA as wedge for health care reform?

It appears Colorado’s newest U.S. senator has been hitting the books on the black arts of political negotiation to use a wedge issue to his advantage.

The Atlantic’s Mark Ambinder writes today on his theory on Sen. Michael Bennet’s maddeningly mute stance on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). It’s a strong-arm tactic to bring labor and business together to negotiate on two causes close to the hearts of progressive activists and entrepreneurs alike: union-organizing and health care reform.

Says Ambinder, referring to a now-edited Coloradoan story that has inexplicably removed a key passage on Bennet’s discussion with Larimer County Democratic activists:

[He] is the guy who’s shaping the debate into a wedge. He’s saying these days that health care reform is possible if and only if labor and business work together. But if there’s a continuing fight over EFCA, business won’t play ball, and the cooperation needed to pass health care fails.

It’s an interesting tactic, if true, made that much more intriguing coming from a largely unknown freshman lawmaker whose Senate predecessors would never be confused with hardcore political players.

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Wendy Norris

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