Business foes of health care overhaul legislation are outspending supporters at a rate of 2-to-1 for TV ads as they grow increasingly nervous over a final bill. Led by the US Chamber of Commerce, opponents of the Democratic health care drive have dropped $24 million on TV commercials over the past month—compared to the $12 million spent by labor unions and other backers. That's an abrupt reversal from the vast spending advantage supporters enjoyed most of this year, say political ad trackers.
More than half the opposition spending has been by the chamber. "There's no input from any of us, no input from Republicans" as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid puts the bill together, said R. Bruce Josten, the chamber's top lobbyist. "So what option do we have than to take our message and story to the American people?" New alliances of business groups are also proliferating, including one tentatively named the Start Over Coalition, envisioned as a huge alliance of trade groups and companies lobbying to persuade Congress to drop its current effort and settle for far more modest legislation.