U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls on Congress to end gridlock, says businesses ‘enough’

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned Congress on Thursday that businesses are “fed up” with gridlock.

The nation’s largest business lobby group made clear at its annual meeting that corporate America wants a divided legislative branch to deliver, encouraging bipartisan breakthroughs on immigration, licensing, the debt ceiling and other key issues.

Lawmakers fear the Senate and House will struggle to agree on a spending bill that must pass, let alone a bolder legislative effort.

“Polarization, gridlock, overreach and an inability to act intelligently and strategically for our future is making it harder for all of us to do our jobs, fulfill our responsibilities and drive The country moves forward,” he said.

Business lobby fears debt ceiling crisis

The debt ceiling has been raised throughout the chamber of commerce, underscoring business concerns over the prospect of a historic default that would devastate the U.S. economy.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) has pledged to combine any debt ceiling increase with spending cuts as part of his deal with Republican opponents to win, raising the risk of a later-year Risk of confrontation.

“We had dinner last night with a group of business leaders and our board members to discuss their priorities. We need to avoid defaulting on our debts and stop making fun of America’s true faith and credit, which makes us feel Fear and compassion. “

Still, Chamber officials said they shared Republicans’ concerns about the national debt and pointed to possible overhaul of the entitlement program.

“This is not some binary choice. We can find a solution through a bipartisan solution, and if we don’t, the consequences will be unacceptable to everyone,” Neil Bradley, the chamber’s top lobbyist, told reporters.

The US is rapidly approaching its $31.4 trillion borrowing ceiling. As soon as this month, the Treasury will have to take “extraordinary measures” to free up cash and pay borrowers, which could last until July or August.

In an interview with the Chamber of Commerce’s Evan Jenkins, a former Republican congressman, Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) called his caucus’ debt-limit strategy “troubling.”

“These are debts that are due and owed. We’ve taken on those debts, and now we need to pay them back,” Joyce said, adding that the debate over federal spending should be resolved in the appropriations process.

A default would undermine confidence in the U.S. political system, send interest rates soaring and put millions of Americans out of work, experts say.

“Any difference in ideology, any difference in politics, is an argument … but risking America’s economic standing, risking default, risking economic disaster is not an option,” the audience said. MP. Abigail Spanberg (D-Va.) said in an interview with the Chamber of Commerce at Thursday’s event.

Chamber courts House Republicans

On Thursday, Clark touched on some of McCarthy’s top priorities, including fighting crime, addressing the southern “border crisis” and confronting China, in addition to emphasizing the importance of cutting government spending as part of the debt-limit deal.

Her comments come as the Chamber finds itself at odds with McCarthy, despite aligning closely with House Republicans on economic issues. That relationship soured when the Chamber of Commerce, traditionally aligned with Republicans, endorsed a group of weak House Democrats in the 2020 election.

“In every part of the meeting, we’ve been working with House Republicans all day, sitting next to House Republicans at dinner last night, talking to each other this morning on the way to work,” Clark said.

Clark called on lawmakers to secure the southern border, noting the chamber’s partners in the region described a “humanitarian crisis sweeping through their towns with little help from the federal government.” She said it could be part of a broader immigration reform package to help address worker shortages.

“When a crisis at the border allows millions of people to enter our country illegally, but we can’t get visas for the engineers and nurses that businesses desperately need to hire and communities need — the government has no jobs,” she said.

Clark hailed a House Republican select committee investigating China, which was approved this week with strong bipartisan support, saying it could be a powerful tool in the fight against Beijing’s human rights abuses and intellectual property theft.

She also denounced crime in major cities, a common topic in the Republican Party and a key part of McCarthy’s agenda.

“What about the scourge of crime sweeping America’s major cities?” Clark said in her prepared remarks. “Customers won’t patronize a business they don’t feel safe. Businesses won’t open or stay in high-threat neighborhoods. Companies won’t invest in lawless cities.”

Meanwhile, Bradley noted that the Chamber’s 2022 support overwhelmingly goes to Republican candidates.

House Republicans have distanced themselves from corporate America in recent years because of the social and political stance of big corporations.

While the House is close to many House Republicans, gaining leadership could be more challenging.

In November, McCarthy privately called on the chamber’s board of directors to replace Clark with a new leader, but the chamber quickly rejected the offer. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) previously told Capitol Hill he would not be meeting with the Chamber of Commerce.

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