The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $135 million on lobbying in 2012, more than doubling its influence spending from the prior year. The powerful business lobby spent $29.5 million on lobbying for 2012’s fourth quarter, according to lobbying disclosure records. The group’s legal affiliate, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, spent $10.9 million on lobbying during the same quarter. [The Hill]
Far from being embarrassed by the assault on judicial impartiality, no less an institution than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is leading the charge along with other business funded groups….A Chamber collaborator is slightly less nuanced: it calls these courts "judicial hellholes," a term it has copyrighted. Then the groups help organize the political campaigns against the judges, replacing them with candidates who will rule in favor of big-business. An estimated $30 million was spent on TV ads alone in 2012 judicial elections. Once judges get sucked into the machinery of electoral campaigns, Americans will doubt their impartiality. [Huffington Post]
Another key moment in the debt ceiling fight: On MSNBC this morning, the head of the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Republicans to stop using the threat of default to get the spending cuts they want. Chamber president Tom Donohue didn’t do this quite as directly as he might have, but the plain meaning was clear. This is significant, because in doing this, he went further than other business leaders, who have merely issued a general call for a hike in the debt ceiling without pointing a finger at Republican debt ceiling hostage taking. Donohue, by contrast, said he wants to see a stop to the tactic of using the debt ceiling as leverage.[Huffington Post]
Traditional pillars of the Republican base, such as police groups, evangelical pastors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have begun to push skeptical GOP lawmakers to change federal immigration laws to allow most of the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants to apply for legal status. In coming months, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will try to convince local chapters that businesses will benefit from laws that make it easier for non-Americans to obtain work visas and allow illegal immigrants to apply for permanent legal status, said Randel Johnson, a senior vice president for the group.[Los Angeles Times] More...
The U.S. government is continuing to lobby Brussels to water down plans to reform privacy legislation…Last October TechWeekEurope reported that the US Chamber of Commerce was lobbying European politicians to alter the proposed new rules on behalf of the U.S. government.Adam Schlosser, senior manager for global regulatory cooperation at the Chamber of Commerce, told the publication it had been engaged in lobbying since March, with a taskforce of around 50 staff engaged on the issue. [Tech Crunch]
Dow Chemical is leaving the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) because of a disagreement on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export policy. The move underscores tension between a bloc of powerful business lobby groups and some manufacturers on the export issue. Dow, along with a handful of other manufacturers, launched a coalition last week that urged the White House to limit LNG exports. That initiative cleaved an alliance of groups pushing for an expansion of LNG exports. Those groups, which include NAM, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute, say the net economic benefits of exporting LNG would outweigh any price jumps.[The Hill] More...
A trio of senators say that business groups challenging new Securities and Exchange Commission rules are taking dead aim at the power of Congress to make policy on energy and national security. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and ex-Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), in a court filing Thursday, defend SEC rules that will force oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments. The American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Foreign Trade Council and the Independent Petroleum Association of America are challenging the rules, and say they will put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage overseas. [The Hill]
Imagine a world where corporate money didn't flood our election process. Imagine that powerful companies weren't secretly funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to shadowy political action committees. Imagine a place where corporate riches didn't sway lawmakers. Oh, the horror. [Law.com]
Washington’s most powerful business lobby and prominent union leaders are discussing a joint push on immigration reform this year. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is in discussions with the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) about shared principles for reforming the immigration system, officials involved with the talks told The Hill. [The Hill]
The fiscal cliff may have been worrisome, says Donohue, but “there is something absolutely explosive happening on the regulatory side” as heathcare and Dodd-Frank legislation take hold, in addition to new labor regulations, for instance. Regulation has the “capacity to tie the economy in knots,” says Donohue, who adds that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sues the U.S. government about 150 times per year. “I know this is a huge issue in your industry,” he says. Donohue urged the insurance industry to provide more leadership on over-regulation issues.
Face the Facts USA notes that for every member of Congress in 2011, there were 23 lobbyists trying to persuade a Congressman or Congresswomen to support an issue. In 2012, there were 22 lobbyists per every member of Congress. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was easily the biggest spender in 2011, cashing out $66 million to spend in the lobbying game. It was also the biggest spender in 2012 when it shelled out $95 million. [VOXXI]
The U.S. will participate in global talks to lower barriers on trade of financial services and telecommunications, a step toward a deal sought by companies including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and AT&T Inc. Industry groups including the Washington-based U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable cheered the announcement. “This is a chance to tackle emerging trade barriers in areas such as the digital economy while strengthening the global rules-based trading system,” Myron Brilliant, the Chamber’s senior vice president for international affairs, said in a statement.[Bloomberg]
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said it was time for an increase in the federal gasoline tax to help pay for infrastructure improvements, Reuters reported. Donohue told reporters following his annual State of American Business Address on Thursday that it is time to “quit fooling around” and raise the gas tax to help fund infrastructure investments.[Transport News]
The Chamber’s solution to the debt problem is the same as the solution of elected Republicans in Washington:Steal from the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich.Not only would this tactic increase the national debt (as the expenses for the needy would ultimately fall back on the government, i.e. taxpayers), but it also shows that Donohue, the U.S. Chamber, and the Republican Party have absolutely no empathy for other human beings.[Ring of Fire]
Yesterday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue delivered his “State of American Business” address, in which he laid out the wealthy corporate lobbying group’s agenda for the coming year. After using several questionable statistics to attack regulations intended to protect the environment or prevent Wall Street from triggering another economic crisis, Donohue’s speech includes a promise to unleash a barrage of well-compensated lawyers to help immunize corporate America from these regulations.[Think Progress]
A coalition of hospitals, physicians, mental health advocates and others is coalescing in support of the Medicaid expansion, sparking a nationwide effort to convince skeptical governors and legislators that accepting a windfall of federal money to expand the low-income insurance program is a good thing for their state. But those advocates shouldn’t expect the ready help of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce any time soon, based on comments made by its president Tom Donohue and Bruce Josten, executive vice president of government affairs, after the Chamber’s 2013 State of American Business address Thursday.[Governing]
As American businesses brace for a flood of new regulations in 2013, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is strengthening its legal defenses, Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Donohue said on Thursday. Delivering the Chamber's annual state of American business address at the organization's Washington headquarters, Donohue said his group will "significantly expand the expertise" of its public policy law firm, the National Chamber Litigation Center, to fight regulations that hurt businesses. The Chamber is particularly concerned about regulations stemming from the Dodd-Frank financial reform and health care laws, as well as from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he said.[Legal Times]
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday declared federal deficit reduction its top goal for 2013 and questioned whether Washington politicians were brave enough to take the steps necessary to rein in a fast-growing national debt. [Reuters]
The law in question is the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).Backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other corporate interests, a Republican-controlled Congress enacted CAFA in 2005 after years of legislative efforts.CAFA represented the latest attempt by lawmakers to limit abuses in class actions and provide an extra shield for defendants in these cases, which tended to be large corporations.[Forbes]
When Jim McCrery, a former Louisiana congressman, urged lawmakers last month to pursue entitlement cuts and tax reform, he was introduced on television as a leader of Fix the Debt, a group of business executives and onetime legislators who have become Washington's most visible and best-financed advocates for reining in the federal deficit….Yet after an election in which many industries, including Wall Street, bet heavily against Mr. Obama, Fix the Debt has also had more credibility among Democrats than some traditional business groups like the United States Chamber of Commerce. The chamber, by far the largest business advocacy group in Washington, staunchly opposed proposals to raise taxes before the fiscal deal. [New York Times]
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.”