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A recent column by National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar claims the Chamber is “getting squeezed” by Democrats and Republicans in Washington. As is typical of this type of political “analysis,” he opines that the Chamber is in a bad position by not marching lock-step with either Democrats or Republicans.
We are fierce defenders of the First Amendment and believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we prefer to base arguments on facts.
The Chamber’s Mission Endures and Drives our Country Forward
Here’s a reminder: Since 1912 the Chamber has focused on making America the best place for job creators. The Chamber’s mission is to support an environment where business owners can create jobs, grow the economy, and improve people’s lives.
We do this work, because we know job creators are in a powerful position to lead and they do. This is why the public trusts them to act for America’s good more than it trusts elected officials in Washington.
Our role in advancing policies that strengthen the country and our communities is far different than that of political parties who are focused on winning the next election cycle. While polarization has disrupted both Democrats and Republicans, the Chamber has stayed true to its mission.
‘How They Voted’ Scorecard Rewards Responsible Governing
Now, let’s get into some of the problems with Kraushaar’s column, starting with his inaccurate description of the Chamber’s “How They Voted Scorecard.”
To build a governing majority, we evolved the scorecard in 2019 by adding bipartisanship and leadership into the score. This incentivizes Democrats and Republicans to come together, work on problems, and come up with lasting, bipartisan solutions.
Kraushaar’s take is that these are “subjective” factors. The truth is both the bipartisan and leadership components are based on an objective number of specific bills Members of Congress cosponsor or refrain from cosponsoring. These are as objective as how many key votes a Member takes on legislation.
(Learn more about our methodology here.)
We’re also working to bridge partisan divides through our Common Grounds series of conversations with Democratic and Republican Members of Congress. Watch episodes here.
The Results Demonstrate the Chamber’s Effectiveness
Another inaccuracy is Kraushaar’s claims that the Chamber is in “political purgatory,” unable to work with Democrats or Republicans. Our track record proves otherwise.
Here is a taste of the Chamber’s most recent legislative accomplishments:
- Passage of the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) to modernize trade with two of our biggest partners.
- Passage of a series of pandemic packages in 2020 and 2021, including creation and extension of the Paycheck Protection Program that saved thousands of small businesses.
- Historic climate and energy legislation in 2020. The biggest effort Congress has ever taken to address climate change.
- Passage of immigration legislation in the House this year that includes relief for “Dreamers.”
Many of these accomplishments had to get through a Democratic House of Representatives, a Republican Senate, and signed by a Republican President.
Pundits may think the Chamber is out of touch with both parties, yet both work with us to get things done. These successes matter to the millions of businesses owners the Chamber represents. Hype doesn’t line up with reality.
As for an issue that’s top of mind–infrastructure–for years the Chamber has been pushing for action and is glad serious discussion has begun. At the same time how the Biden administration wants to pay for it–through harmful tax increases–is unacceptable.
So we “side” with Democrats on the need for infrastructure action, but “side” with Republicans in opposing the proposed tax increases on American employers. What these stands have in common is they’re both good for the economy and American workers. We’re exactly where our members and the nation need us to be. It is also happens to be the position most likely to result in enactment of a responsibly financed infrastructure bill.
Also, let’s not forget vaccinations. When the Biden administration looked for partners to drive COVID-19 vaccination efforts, who did they look to? The Chamber, who is a founding partner of the COVID-19 Community Corps. The White House knows our partnership with state and local chambers and with our members means we can accomplish things to help our country.
Bottom line: The Chamber is where it’s always been: On the side of job creators, workers, and those working hard for a stronger economy and country. We will continue working with Democrats and Republicans and independents; progressives, conservatives, and centrists; whoever wants to make American the best it can be.