AFL-CIO ad pushes senators to nix 'Cadillac tax' in health bill

The AFL-CIO will launch a new ad campaign Sunday aiming to pressure senators into removing the so-called "Cadillac tax" from their healthcare bill.

The labor group will begin a two-week ad campaign this weekend featuring workers encouraging the Senate to pass health reform, but without excise taxes on high-value insurance plans, which the AFL-CIO has long opposed.

The ad will begin airing on Washington, D.C.-area television on Sunday, and then in "key Senate states" the AFL-CIO will announce on Monday. Spokesman Eddie Vale would not say which states and senators would be targeted in the ads or how much is being spent, except to guarantee that the spending on the ad would be substantial, and not a small amount to only attract media attention.

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The ad comes during a key point of the Senate's healthcare debate, as senators on both sides of the aisle offer amendment to target different aspects of the legislation. Republicans have said they plan to target the different taxes in the Senate's healthcare bill with amendment, making for a potentially unusual relationship with labor groups.

The AFL-CIO has long criticized the excise tax out of a concern that it could touch on generous health benefits packages sometimes held by middle class workers as part of their overall compensation plans. Proponents of the tax argue that it is an important tool to finance the legislation, and to discourage inflation in health benefits plans.

"We've got to pass a healthcare bill," participants in the ad say. "But taxing workers' healthcare benefits? That's just wrong."

View the 30-second ad below: