The proposal, on how to bring foreign workers into the U.S., clears away a major roadblock to further action in Congress on new legislation. . . . The agreement involves a tradeoff. For the first time, the AFL-CIO agreed to support establishing a temporary guest-worker program for low-skilled labor. The Chamber of Commerce agreed that the number of workers admitted under the new visa would expand and contract with the economy. In addition, the visa would not tie a worker to a particular employer, a step designed to protect workers from the threat that they could be deported if they had a dispute with their boss. . . The chamber also signed onto a long-standing labor demand that an independent entity — the new expert bureau — have the authority to study labor data and recommend curtailing work visas when unemployment is high. The proposed bureau would have "political independence analogous to the Bureau of Labor Statistics," according to a joint statement released Thursday by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Thomas J. Donohue.[Los Angeles Times]
Business and labor have struggled to find consensus on immigration reform, but two of their biggest representatives have just achieved a breakthrough. The AFL-CIO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce have agreed to three immigration reforms that reflect their new consensus over how to handle future immigrant workers, suggesting that they’ll finally break the impasse that contributed to the collapse of the 2007 immigration overhaul. The two groups are still working out to hammer out a final deal with more details, but the shared principles are a sign of unmistakable progress. [Washington Post Blog]
Faced with the growing theft of U.S. trade secrets, the White House said on Wednesday it was stepping up diplomatic pressure and mulling tougher laws to stem the threat to American businesses and security from China and other
nations. . .The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest business lobby, offered a lukewarm statement of support, while other industry groups expressed more enthusiasm for the effort. [Yahoo! News]
The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments in a dispute between U.S. utility PPL Corp and the Internal Revenue Service that could influence U.S. multinational corporations' scope for claiming credits to offset overseas tax payments. . . PPL, backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the conservative Cato Institute and Goldwater Institute, argued that the windfall tax should be eligible for a foreign tax credit. [Reuters] More...
The nation’s largest business lobby has a laundry list of suggestions for whipping the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) into shape. Although businesses have had a pleasant experience dealing with CFPB investigators thus far, they’ve found the overall regulatory process to be “duplicative,” “confusing” and “inconsistent,” according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce.[The Hill]
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce showed no signs of letting up on its lobbying campaign to change U.S. foreign bribery law, despite initially welcoming U.S. government guidance on how the law is enforced. The Chamber sent a letter to top officials at the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, the two U.S. agencies that enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a 1977 law that bars the use of bribes to foreign officials to get or keep business. The agencies jointly released guidance on the law in November 2012, following a concerted lobbying campaign by the Chamber and others to change the law. But the guidance isn’t enough, according to the Chamber, despite early praise when the document was released last year. [Wall Street Journal]
In a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the agency needed to guard against unclear and inefficient supervision, recommending several changes.[American Banker ($)]
The Chamber's David Hirschmann penned an op-ed in The Hill yesterday on the path forward for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in the wake of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruling that the recess appointments of three National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) members were unconstitutional. [Free Enterprise]
A leading U.S. business group on Wednesday threw its support behind the politically unpopular idea of raising the federal gasoline tax to help fund trillions of dollars in projected U.S. infrastructure needs. [Moneynews]
Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., the former chairman of the House transportation committee, said Wednesday that the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce should “seek other opportunities for employment” after advocating for a gas-tax increase to solve the nation’s transportation needs. Mica said chamber president Tom Donohue had “lost touch with the business people he represents” in advocating for the tax. [National Journal]
U.S. companies see “huge” opportunities in Mexico, where the government has pledged to open the state-owned energy industry to more private investment, upgrade transportation and spur telecommunications competition, according to a top official at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Exxon Mobil Corp. is among a group of U.S. companies in Mexico City this week to identify investment opportunities and strengthen ties with Latin America’s second-biggest economy, said Myron Brilliant, senior vice president for international affairs at the largest U.S. business lobbying group. The delegation is meeting with lawmakers and officials from the energy, transportation and economy ministries, Brilliant said.[Bloomberg]
President Obama on Tuesday signed an executive order aimed at bolstering the cyber defenses of the country's critical infrastructure. The White House spent the last several months crafting the order after Congress failed to pass cyber-security legislation last year.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has opposed new government cybersecurity mandates, called the executive action "unnecessary."[The Hill]
The White House is poised to release an executive order aimed at thwarting cyberattacks against critical infrastructure on Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter told The Hill…. The executive order would establish a voluntary program in which companies operating critical infrastructure would elect to meet cybersecurity best practices and standards crafted, in part, by the government….The White House began crafting the executive order after Congress failed to pass cybersecurity legislation last year…GOP senators and the influential U.S. Chamber of Commerce fought hard against the Senate bill, warning that it would apply burdensome new regulations to businesses.[The Hill]
Things are hotting up nicely in terms of data protection, where EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding proposed new EU rules just over a year ago. The proposed directive–needed to update rules that date from 1995 when access to the Internet relied on modems that made alien bleeping noises–is now being reviewed by the European Parliament and EU governments. Its path is not a smooth one….It’s not just IT giants whose ideas have been copy-pasted into the amendments, the campaign adds. EDRi, which campaigns for civil rights online, says U.S. authorities have been sending lobbying documents on unheaded paper railing against the proposals. There are also amendments lifted directly from AmCham, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according to Lobbyplag. [Wall Street Journal Blog]
Norwegian oil-and-gas giant Statoil is distancing itself from petroleum industry litigation to scuttle Securities and Exchange Commission rules (SEC) that will force oil and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. The multinational company’s position has delighted human-rights groups that back the rule, and activists are using Statoil’s stance to try and build support for the controversial regulation that’s required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law….
The American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and two other groups filed in a lawsuit in October to overturn the rules that the SEC finalized in August.[The Hill]
The nation’s preeminent business association said Friday that it is bullish on the economic outlook for 2013 and urged lawmakers to stop "self-inflicted wounds" that could dampen robust growth. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Friday that even if a scheduled $85 billion in automatic cuts go into effect this year, gross domestic product should grow at an average of 2 percent — 0.6 percent stronger than that seen by the Congressional Budget Office this week. [The Hill]
President Barack Obama‘s top economic advisers are meeting with leaders from business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation to enlist their support for the White House’s plans to overhaul the immigration system and to avert automatic spending cuts set to kick in next month. [Wall Street Journal]
After decades of friction over immigration, the nation’s labor unions and the leading business association, the Chamber of Commerce, have formed an unusual alliance that is pushing hard to revamp American immigration laws. These oft-feuding groups agree on the need to enact a way for the 11 million immigrants illegally in the United States to gain citizenship. And they are also nearing common ground on a critical issue — the number of guest workers allowed into the country — that has deeply divided business and labor for years and helped to sink President George W. Bush’s push for an immigration overhaul in 2007. [Washington Post]
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent a proposal for new silica rules to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The proposal was supposed to get a 90-day review….But almost two years later, it's still under review…Opponents to the new rule include trade associations for the makers of brick, steel and concrete, as well as the producers of sand, stone and gravel….Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also opposes OSHA's effort on silica: "I think this is an issue that is not appropriate for revision."[NPR]
Federal spending cuts should come first in any effort to address the U.S. deficit problem, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said….Bruce Josten, an executive vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, called on U.S. President Barack Obama and members of Congress to focus on tax and entitlement reform first. "The chamber has long stated that the sequester should be replaced with prioritized spending cuts," Josten said in a statement. [UPI]
After receiving applause for my question, Google’s head lawyer David Drummond – who was helping Page to answer questions – responded that the company’s membership in the U.S. Chamber is something senior leadership debates a lot. He added that while there are some things that the U.S. Chamber is good for, there is a lot of stuff it does that Google doesn’t agree with.
He concluded by saying that, “while we are members for now, it’s something that we do review.”