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The U.S. Chamber in the news - August 9
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce appears in the following stories in today's news:
Obama Considering Executive-Branch Action on Cybersecurity
President Barack Obama is considering executive-branch action on U.S. cybersecurity after Congress failed to pass legislation to protect national security assets, a White House aide said.
Republicans, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups said the voluntary standards would be a back door to government regulation of companies. The bill was sponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, and Susan Collins, a Maine Republican.
Critical U.S. Infrastructure Vulnerable to Cyber Attack, Congress Fails to Act
In its original form, the Cyber Security Act would have imposed mandatory minimum standards on companies that run the country's vital systems, including businesses involved in energy and electricity, water and transportation.
Later, to gain more votes, the bill was watered down to make compliance with the standards voluntary. But business groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opposed both versions as regulatory overreach that would be too costly to implement.
Climate 2.0: What Is Expected Of Business Now?
Business at large has only recently awakened to climate change—really just within the last 10 years. It started slowly, following the 1997 adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, and then it picked up speed after the development of industry-accepted greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring and reporting standards such as 2001’s GHG Protocol and 2003’s Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Leaders are also expected to avoid “unaccountable” coalitions: In other words, companies should avoid joining associations whose lobbying efforts contradict the companies’ stated position. Nike and Apple demonstrated this style of leadership when they left the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to their concerns that the organization was advocating for regressive climate measures.
Study gives West Virginia higher learning low grades
West Virginia’s colleges and universities received a failing grade in a report released recently by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce. The report identified the Mountain State as one of only four in the nation that received an “F” for not meeting the standards employers demand from four-year institutions.
The Institute, which is a nonprofit affiliate of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, also reported that this state’s two-year colleges did only slightly better, receiving a “D” for their efforts.
NLRB ambush-election rule still invalid, judge affirms
The National Labor Relations Board hasn't given up on trying to force faster union elections in workplaces, but hasn't had a lot of success lately.
A federal district court in Washington, D.C., this month ruled for the second time that the agency's 2011 regulation to speed up the time frame between a union petition and a union vote was not valid. The reason: The agency's board lacked the three-person quorum required to enact a final regulation, the court said.
Although the agency originally intended the so-called "ambush-election" regulation to take effect April 30, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce challenged the rule. In mid-May the district court halted the rule because of the lack of a quorum.
Another Chamber of Commerce Member Is Caught Bribing Foreign Governments
In late 2010, the foreign-funded U.S. Chamber of Commerce, perhaps Washington’s most powerful corporate front group, unleashed a lobbying blitz to weaken the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The FCPA is designed to punish U.S.-based corporations that bribe foreign officials abroad.
Earlier this year, a subsidiary of Wal-Mart — which is a Chamber member — in Mexico was caught bribing officials, funneling millions of dollars through that country. Now, another Chamber member, Pfizer, has been fined for its role in foreign bribery.
How Secret Foreign Money Could Infiltrate US Elections
Foreign money and American elections are like fire and water, orange juice and toothpaste, Yankees fans and Red Sox fans: The two don’t mix. At least they haven’t for nearly 50 years, when the federal government banned foreigners from giving or spending any money on local, state, and federal elections.
But for the secretive nonprofit groups pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2012 elections, the rules are different. These outfits, organized under the 501(c) section of the US tax code, can take money from foreign citizens, foreign labor unions, and foreign corporations, and they don’t have to tell voters about it because they don’t publicly disclose their donors. What’s more, with a savvy attorney and a clean paper trail, a foreign donor could pump millions into a nonprofit without even the nonprofit knowing the money’s true origin.
In 2010, ThinkProgress, a blog affiliated with the liberal Center for American Progress, sent shock waves through Washington when it accused the US Chamber of Commerce of funding political ads with money from foreign businesses. A Chamber spokesman told FactCheck.org that it kept foreign money separate from its political honeypot but declined to give any details on how the funds are segregated. The accusations went viral enough that President Obama weighed in, saying that “groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections, and they won’t tell you where the money for their ads comes from.”
Flashback: Obama Team Accused U.S. Chamber of Using ‘Secret Foreign Money’ in 2010
David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s top adviser, said yesterday on “Face the Nation” that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a “threat to our democracy.” Bob Schieffer responds by mocking Axelrod: “This part about foreign money, that appears to be peanuts.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running this ad.
Well, sorry to tell you Ms. Jeung besides the Obama economy which we all are suffering from – Shelley Berkley did vote for ObamaCare, which has been shown to negatively affect small businesses. Of course Berkley and Jeung would scoff at such an assertion pointing to all the “poor people” that will now be covered by health care, of course not even coming close to mentioning all the new TAXES that are being implemented in order to pay for it. AND NO – I’m not talking only about the individual mandate, but also about the TAXES which in one way or the other – we all are going to pay for – like the Medical Device excise tax, the $500 BILLION dollar cuts to Medicare etc…
Let’s see – what other anti-small business bills did you vote against?
Attack on King really a defense of negative ad
Their attack against King is really a defense of a negative ad that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been running during NBC's Olympics coverage, which caricatures King's own record as governor, complete with cartoons and funny music.
So this is not really an attack on attack ads, but an everybody-does-it excuse, with a few punches landed in the clinch by saying King's current stance on negative campaigning is an example of hypocrisy.
A Candidate Whose Ads Are Never Off the Air
The race is attractive to the Republican Party and to outside groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which tends to support Republican candidates, because a Lingle victory would embarrass Mr. Obama in his own backyard and make it that much easier for Republicans to capture the Senate. Ms. Lingle has already raised $4.4 million for her race, compared with Ms. Hirono’s $3.4 million and Mr. Case’s $781,000.
Thomas Massie picks up U.S. Chamber endorsement; McDaniel gets Right to Life backing
The U. S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Republican Thomas Massie for Congress in Kentucky’s 4th district.
D.C. rules guarantee gridlock
One of the frustrating reasons behind the gridlock in Washington, D.C., is the Senate rule that effectively requires 60 of the 100 senators to pass a bill. Previously, senators had to filibuster to raise the necessary majority from 51 percent to 60 percent; now all they have to do is threaten a filibuster.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce argued that such optional standards would be just too much work for corporations, and Sen. John McCain took up their cause, leading the opposition and invoking the silent filibuster. When a vote was taken to end the filibuster, it was favored 52-46 – eight votes short of the necessary super majority.
Cyber threat remains high with failure of Collins' bill
In the final weeks before Congress left for its August break, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn., took a gamble. They watered down their own cybersecurity legislation in hopes of winning passage.
The influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposed it, saying the legislation took an "adversarial" approach to the private sector. The group has endorsed other bills with less rigorous requirements.
This was a moment when the business lobby put its head in the sand. The threat posed to the private sector in cyberspace cannot be wished away -- it is large and growing.
Senate’s defeat of cyber security bill shows willful ignorance
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, other business groups and a number of Republicans, including John McCain of Arizona, opposed the bill, arguing that the legislation would be too burdensome for companies. They continued to oppose it even when Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., agreed to water it down and make the security standards optional.
The Chamber’s chief lobbyist, Bruce Josten, wrote to senators that the bill “could actually impede U.S. cyber security by shifting businesses’ resources away from implementing robust and effective security measures and toward meeting government mandates.”
The arguments are bogus. Clearly not all companies are protecting themselves, and this is a matter of national security. The legislation would have been to their own benefit.
Sugar subsidies out of date
The momentum for change is clear. The Consumer Federation of America and National Consumers League have joined business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers in support of reform. During Senate debate on the farm bill, we saw strong support for our amendments to reform the sugar program, significantly more than the last time similar legislation was introduced in 2001. We were encouraged by this growing bipartisan support. We need more of that in Washington.
GOP patriotism fades when money talks on cyber security
I wonder how many of your readers were shocked by the Senate Republicans' latest homage to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporate America. The article "Senate Action on Cyber Security Blocked" (Aug. 3) reported that a GOP-led filibuster against a cyber security bill has reduced the level of our national security.
The reason? Corporate America thinks it's just too expensive. Our security ... too expensive? That doesn't sound like a group that supports America, but rather their own pockets. And it sure doesn't sound like my father's GOP.
What's next? Hazardous medical waste? Too expensive, just chuck it in the river. Fracking fluids? Too expensive, just pour it in the nearest stream. Nuclear waste? Ah, just dump it in the desert.
US Elections: Flag-Waving and False Unity
Obama tells the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “We need to make America the best place on earth to do business … and we have to do this together: business and government; workers and CEO’s; Democrats and Republicans.”
Romney charges “Unions drive up costs and introduce rigidities that harm competitiveness and frustrate innovation.” Lumping workers and business together against unions, he asks “Whose interests should come first, those of workers and businesses, or those of organized labor?” Put his way, you’d never know the “costs” unions “drive up” are workers’ wages — for creating all the wealth!
So let’s get real. Service cutbacks, austerity measures, and wage cuts benefit only the bigwigs, not the whole country. The capitalist economy can never work for all of us, because it’s designed for the wealthy, who control the elections and relentlessly widen the gap between rich and poor.
Admit it, I am an Offshorer and Uncle Sam Made Me Do It
In this overheated political season there is no worse thing to be accused of than an offshorer: someone who moves jobs out of America. With unemployment stubbornly stuck north of 8 percent, offshoring is seen as a convenient culprit for what ails us. The Obama campaign accuses Romney of offshoring jobs when he ran Bain capital. The Romney campaign has pushed back dubbing Obama the “outsourcer in chief” and charging that public green energy investments created jobs overseas instead of the United States. In this environment, the last thing you want to be known for is moving jobs offshore.
Offshoring creates jobs in the United States they tell us. When a plant closes in the U.S. it’s actually good for America because it enables the U.S. company to be competitive and while it might lose production jobs, it gains other kinds of jobs. It’s why Tom Donahue, the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, declared in 2008 that for every dollar of work U.S. companies offshored, the U.S. economy received $42 of benefit! It’s why companies so vigorously deny that they move jobs because of labor costs.
U.S. Chamber Releases Fantasy Study Alleging Union Favoritism In Pennsylvania Law, Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Says
Self-serving study falsely claims union members are exempted from laws governing certain types of criminal activities
The corporate fueled right-wing attack on workers' rights opened a new front in their war against the middle class with the release of a self-serving U.S. Chamber of Commerce study alleging some Pennsylvania laws were written to exempt unions from criminal statutes.