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Chamber Promises to Play Big Role in 2010 Midterms

Promoting job creation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue pushed back Tuesday against the Obama administration’s legislative agenda, threatening to use the chamber’s power during the 2010 midterm elections to defeat the president’s allies. Donohue gave a scathing assessment of several Democratic priorities at the group’s annual State of American Business event Tuesday, including climate change legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act, health care reform and the financial regulatory overhaul, saying the agenda will undermine free enterprise and lead to job losses. The chamber has embarked on a free enterprise campaign with a goal of creating 20 million jobs in 10 years.On EFCA, Donohue discounted AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s assessment Monday that the union-supported bill would pass in the first quarter of this year. “I don’t underestimate the power of the labor unions,— Donohue said. But “it’s not going to get the votes.—Donohue also said Senate Democrats were running away from the House-passed climate change legislation.Further, health care reform and the proposals in the financial regulatory reform bill would burden business and could also heavily affect states’ ability to balance their books, according to Donohue.Despite taking the Obama administration to task, Donohue said there wasn’t any rift between the executive branch and the chamber.“The Chamber has not had a problem with the White House. We never make it personal,— Donohue said. Further, he noted that chamber leaders are working with the White House on several fronts, including education policy, and has supported administration priorities such as the stimulus.Still, Donohue made it clear that the chamber expects to hold Members of Congress accountable and to play an aggressive role in the 2010 elections.“As Americans choose a new House and new Senators this fall, the chamber will highlight lawmakers and candidates who support a pro-jobs agenda, and hold accountable those who don’t,— Donohue said.

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