May 14, 2015 - 4:30pm

U.S. Chamber Quarterly Spring 2015: Advancing Our Agenda

We are asking our nation’s leaders to rally around a common bipartisan cause—stronger and deeper economic growth in order to create jobs and expand opportunities for all Americans. 

Trade

Here’s what the Chamber has been doing to make it easier for American companies to sell to customers across the globe. 

Fighting to Renew Trade Promotion Authority. The Chamber continues stressing the necessity of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) renewal and the
need to conclude two trade agreements under negotiation, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Educating the Public and Lawmakers. John Murphy, the Chamber’s senior vice president for international policy, published The Open Door of Trade, a report and blog series examining the benefits of the agreements that TPA makes possible. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue stressed TPA’s benefits to a Senate panel in April. 

Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. In February, the Chamber helped organize a massive Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) fly-in, in which nearly 1,000 small businesses and suppliers visited Washington, D.C., to lobby members of Congress about the importance of the Bank to jobs and growth.

  • At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 14th Annual Aviation Summit, Ray Conner, Boeing’s vice chairman, warned that 1.4 million jobs in commercial aerospace are at risk if Ex-Im is not renewed. 

Energy 

The Chamber is urging Congress and the administration to take the needed steps to produce more American energy in an environmentally responsible manner. 

00_jgoa_energy_usc1009883_118_800x533.jpg

ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance speaks to the U.S. Chamber.

Getting Keystone to the President’s Desk. The Chamber led a successful advocacy and lobbying effort to get legislation passed through both houses of Congress to approve the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, an energy infrastructure project that would transport Canadian oil to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast. President Obama vetoed the legislation, and the pipeline remains in regulatory limbo.

U.S. Chamber CEO Leadership Series. ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance spoke about the shale energy boom, saying, “Today’s energy renaissance is real.” He also argued for ending the 40-year ban on crude oil exports.

The Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy has been urging the public to submit comments to federal regulators to support more offshore drilling.

EPA’s Carbon Regulations. The Chamber has been educating and building coalitions to block EPA’s proposed carbon regulations that will increase electricity prices, cost jobs, and result in a less reliable power grid. The Energy Institute released the analysis In Their Own Words: A Guide to States’ Concerns Regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed Greenhouse Gas Regulations for Existing Power Plants.

  • Dan Byers, senior director of policy at the Energy Institute, testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the harm the proposed regulations will have on jobs and the economy. 

Infrastructure 

Our transportation system is a tremendous national asset and in desperate need of investment.

West Coast Ports Resolution. The Chamber played a leadership role in convincing the government to get more active in the West Coast ports impasse and urged both sides in the dispute to reach an agreement. Business operations were adversely affected as the work slowdown grew— impacting farmers, retailers, and manufacturers across the country, in addition to trucking and railroad companies.

Highways and Transit. The Chamber is urging passage of a bill to meet the nation’s long-term highway and transit needs. Janet Kavinoky, the Chamber’s executive director of transportation & infrastructure, has engaged with business and transportation experts from Texas to Florida to South Carolina to New Hampshire.

Chamber member Ingredion testified in February in front of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Kavinoky testified in April before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on public transportation and the economy. 

Regulatory Reform

The Chamber has championed three bipartisan regulatory reform bills now moving through Congress.

The Regulatory Accountability Act would modernize the regulatory process created in 1946 by increasing transparency during rule development, allowing interested parties to access the data, and making agencies consider alternatives to achieve their objectives at a lower cost. It passed the House in February and is awaiting introduction in the Senate. The Chamber has worked closely with House and Senate supporters to pass this critical bill.

The RAPID Act would provide a streamlined process for developers, builders, and designers to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects in a timely and efficient manner. The legislation has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee and is waiting for a floor vote. A similar bill—known as the Federal Permitting Improvement Act of 2015—was introduced in the Senate.

The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act would take steps to stop the abusive practice known as sue and settle. This is where advocacy groups sue federal agencies, then negotiate behind closed doors to enter into consent decrees or settlement agreements compelling the agencies to issue rules in an expedited time frame. Identical bills have been introduced in the House and the Senate. 

  • The Chamber was part of a large multi-industry coalition that wrote the House Judiciary Committee strongly supporting the RAPID Act.
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten wrote House Judiciary leadership urging support of the Sunshine Act. Bill Kovacs, the Chamber’s senior vice president of Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs, testified in March before a House Judiciary panel supporting the RAPID and the Sunshine acts.

Ambush Election Rule. The Chamber applauded Congress for passing legislation to stop this rule issued by the National Labor Relations Board and pressed for the president to sign the resolution, which he later vetoed. The rule infringes on employers’ free speech by eliminating opportunities to communicate views on unionization with employees.

  • Earlier this year, the Chamber and industry partners filed a lawsuit to stop the NLRB from moving forward with the rule.

Capital Markets Summit. At the 9th Annual Capital Markets Summit, Donohue discussed the 10 Truths About the Financial System and challenged regulators and Congress to build a transparent and resilient financial regulatory system.

Truth in Regulating. The Chamber study Truth in Regulating: Restoring Transparency to EPA Rulemaking found that EPA has not been open about what pollutants it regulates or the true costs and benefits of the most costly federal rules. While the agency often claims that a costly new rule has huge benefits because it reduces a specific pollutant, the benefits really come from reducing fine dust that is already well controlled. Essentially, the public is getting very little for its money. 

Taxes, Entitlements, and the Budget 

The Chamber is fighting for reforms, including a smarter, streamlined tax system.

Budget Plans With Reform in Mind. With the Chamber’s support, the House and Senate passed reform-minded budget plans that recognize the need to restrain federal spending, correct the unsustainable growth path of entitlements, reduce annual budget deficits, contain the growth of federal debt, and enact comprehensive tax reform.

The Chamber’s Josten urged both chambers “to quickly reconcile” their proposals, pass the budget resolution quickly, and get to work putting “America’s fiscal house in order.” 

Immigration 

The current system is broken and is failing to meet the needs of our society, our economy, our businesses, and our workers.

Sticking to the Facts. The Chamber sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, “Debunking the Myth That Immigration Harms America,” correcting common immigration myths.

The Chamber’s Randy Johnson, senior vice president of Labor, Immigration & Employee Benefits, testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs panel on lesser skilled immigration. The United States can help eliminate the incentive for illegal immigration and secure the U.S. border if temporary worker programs are used to fill available jobs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please find more U.S. Chamber Quarterly Spring 2015 articles here.

About the Author

About the Author