THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND THE STIMULUS.

US_Chamber_of_Commerce_logo.jpgThe Senate Finance Committee's press shop just forwarded the Chamber of Commerce's endorsement of the stimulus package to their press list (read into that what you will). It reads:

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges you to support cloture on the Collins-Nelson amendment to H.R. 1, the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” The Chamber also renews its call that the Senate approve H.R. 1 without delay so that the House and Senate can expeditiously complete work on a conference report that provides timely, targeted, and temporary economic stimulus.

The Chamber recognizes that the evolving legislation is not perfect, but believes that it is vital that Congress quickly approve legislation to assist the crumbling U.S. economy. The Chamber strongly supports cloture on the Collins-Nelson amendment, which will refine H.R. 1 and, most importantly, allow the legislative process to proceed. Overall, the Chamber supports many of the pro-growth tax initiatives in the bill, as well as spending-side provisions to provide stimulus, create jobs and to get Americans back to work.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, looks forward to working with the Senate, House and the Administration to accomplish meaningful economic stimulus legislation that can be signed into law in the coming days.

Sincerely,

R. Bruce Josten

The stimulus will still fail to receive more than a handful of business votes. Which actually makes this a usefully teachable moment. Progressives have a tendency to assume that Republicans are simply stooges of the business community. That's not strictly true. Rather, they are stooges of the business community when convenient. And it's usually convenient. On the one hand, Republicans are ideologically sympathetic to business interests. On the other, they're continually in need of money with which to deceive the American people and obscure their agenda run campaigns. It makes for a mutually fulfilling relationship.

But when the business community's priorities are neither aligned with conservatism nor with the electoral interests of the Republican Party, they'll happily cross business, as they're likely to do here. To give this post a bit of health care edge, watch for this dynamic to increasingly affect the relationship between Republicans and insurers Insurers are much more open to a universal health care system than your median Republican congressman. Both, obviously, would oppose single payer. But there are a lot of reforms that you could imagine Obama and the insurance community supporting. The same cannot be said for Obama and congressional Republicans, who will likely decide, as they did in 1994, that they cannot let Democrats prove successful at reforming American health care.

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