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Locked in the Chamber
Republicans should declare independence from the Chamber of Commerce.


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Once again, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is showing its true colors — and they aren’t pretty.

According to its mission statement, the Chamber of Commerce exists “to advance human progress through an economic, political, and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility.”

Naturally, then, one would expect the Chamber to stand with the Republican party, which is closer to the Chamber’s stated mission in favor of freer markets and individual liberty. And, financially, that tends to be the case — so far in the 2014 cycle, for example, nearly $90,000 has been given to Republicans by the Chamber, and nothing to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org.

However, standing with the GOP does not mean standing for the principles of the GOP and its conservative base.

Consider, for example, that in 2008 the Chamber backed the Troubled Asset Relief Program — hardly a policy that supports “responsibility” — and in 2010 gave Representative Ron Paul (R., Texas) its worst rating of any Republican. The reasons for Paul’s poor rating? Opposition to, among other policy measures, President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill and a tourism-subsidization bill.

And in April of this year, the Chamber stood behind reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, a taxpayer subsidy of some of the world’s largest corporations.

Of course, the Chamber is not alone in these stances among GOP-affiliated individuals and groups. A Republican president launched TARP, and the Export-Import Bank has been reauthorized by the GOP-controlled House.

But now the Chamber has gone to a point where its true colors, in favor of Big Business over the American people, are showing in a way that should formally alienate a conservative: Its president has said that “if the Republicans don’t do [immigration reform], they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016.”

According to Politico, Tom Donohue was joking, but such a “joke” shows where Donohue and the Chamber are on one of the most important debates of current politics.  



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