Hoffa says his union can live without public option

The Teamsters president puts himself at odds with the AFL-CIO on healthcare reform

Published September 4, 2009 4:35PM (EDT)

Labor remains one of the Democrats' most important constituencies, and unions are likely to play a key role in the continuing push for healthcare reform. But two of the big names are now split over what they want in the bill.

As Salon's Mike Madden reported earlier this week, Rich Trumka, the next president of the AFL-CIO, said Tuesday that his union will not support the bill if it doesn't have a public option.

On Friday, though, Teamsters President James Hoffa said dropping the public option wouldn't be a "deal killer."

"We've got to find out what's doable," Hoffa said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. "I think it's important to get something done this time and declare a victory."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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