Obama names labor leader to fiscal commission

President Obama announced today his appointees to a recently created bipartisan fiscal commission, including prominent labor leader and Democratic activist Andy Stern.

Stern, chairman of the Service Employees International Union, is one of the most powerful figures in the labor movement and has pushed aggressively for a number of Democratic causes, including healthcare reform.

Other appointees include Alice Rivlin, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ann Fudge, former CEO of Young and Rubicam Brands, and Dan Cote, CEO of Honewell. Obama had previously named former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and Clinton official Erskine Bowles to co-chair the group, which wil make recommendations for reducing the nation's long-term debt.

The choice of Stern is already drawing fire from business groups.

The Workforce Fairness Institute, which has steadfastly opposed major labor legislation supported by SEIU, blasted the decision in a statement Friday morning.

“Either the White House doesn’t read the newspaper or simply doesn’t care, but naming Andy Stern as a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility doesn’t pass the laugh test,” said Katie Packer, the group's executive director.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress also get to appoint members. Senate Democrats have selected Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), and Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)

Senate Republicans have yet to select their members, as have House leaders of both parties.

Obama created the commission by executive order after the Senate voted down an effort to create a similar entity. The group will eventually have 18 members--including 10 Demcorats and 8 Republicans.

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