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Donohue: Chamber Spending $20 Million on Congressional Races

Clarification Appended

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue today said the chamber would spend more than $20 million on this fall’s Congressional races to elect Democrats and Republicans that back pro-business policies.

While stressing bipartisanship, Donohue said the chamber preferred Republican candidates, including presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), who is running for a second term. He also said he backs the pro-drilling energy policies championed by McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Donohue said conservative Democrats with pro-business records would be targeted for funding this fall because they could help hold the line against policies that would be unfriendly to businesses in a Democratic-controlled Congress.

In a briefing at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Donohue said the chamber had begun a campaign, known as “Vote for Business,” to register voters around the country and to make them aware of key business issues.

Donohue said education is crucial to increasing the number of skilled workers, especially as an aging population starts retiring. Also, he said, investments in infrastructure are a priority for the business community, especially in the areas of power generation, air traffic control and broadband capacity.

“Affordable taxes” for businesses are also a key issue, Donohue said. While saying industries rarely agree on all tax issues, he said, there is wide consensus for keeping them as low as possible.

Clarification: Sept. 3, 2008

Donohue said at a briefing Tuesday that he has a “better relationship” with McCain, whom he has “known over many years,” but he did not endorse McCain over Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). The chamber does not endorse in presidential races.

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