- The Washington Times
Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Top House Republicans say they have no plans to meet with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after the lobbying group endorsed some Democrats in recent cycles.

The chamber, which spends millions in Washington on pro-business lobbying, endorsed nearly two dozen Democrats in the 2020 cycle in which the GOP fell short of its aspirations of regaining the majority.

The endorsements rankled House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who sit atop the chamber after November’s elections.

“The priorities of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have not aligned with the priorities of House Republicans or the interests of their own members, and they should not expect a meeting with Speaker McCarthy as long as that’s the case,” McCarthy spokesman Mark Bednar told CNBC.

The network quoted a Scalise spokeswoman as saying that “unless the Chamber gets back to their traditional pro-business roots, they should not expect to have any engagement with Majority Leader Scalise’s office.”

Underscoring the rift, The Intercept reported last year that House Republicans plan to investigate the chamber for any endorsements of ESG — environmental, social and governance — criteria at U.S. firms.

Republican lawmakers are expected to pepper the chamber over its stance on ESG issues in the coming weeks.

At the same time, however, the chamber announced plans to sue the Securities and Exchange Commission over a climate change disclosure rule.

The chamber told CNBC that it has more in common with the GOP than with Democrats.

“The chamber’s priorities include lower taxes, reduced spending, fighting overregulation and numerous other issues, and we are aligned with House Republicans on many of the issues that are important to American businesses of all sizes,” spokesman Tim Doyle said.

On Tuesday, Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark listed five things the lobby will be looking for in President Biden’s State of the Union speech.

The chamber wanted Mr. Biden to outline a commitment to deficit reduction and a willingness to negotiate on the debt ceiling; an effort to advance bipartisan talks on border security and immigration; a push to speed up the permitting process for transportation and infrastructure projects; the pursuit of a “balanced” approach to China that recognizes both its trading power and national security risks; and a desire for new trade deals, including an effort to “resume negotiations with the United Kingdom, give the U.S. a stronger foothold in Africa, and aim higher on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.