The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is expected to back more than 20 Democrat House candidates in the 2020 election, according to an August 27 report in Politico.
The support for 20-plus Democrats comes as the GOP tries to gain 17 extra seats and control of the House this November.
“Grassroots Republicans have long accused the Chamber of Commerce of selling out conservative values, so it’s not surprising to see them come out of the closet as full-on Democrat partisans,” a former official in President Donald Trump’s White House said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is poised to endorse nearly two dozen freshmen House Democrats for reelection, triggering a revolt within the right-leaning organization and drawing fierce pushback from the group’s powerful GOP donors.
The decision represents a sharp departure for the traditionally conservative Chamber, which has spent over $100 million backing Republican candidates during the past decade, and it threatens to further complicate the party’s prospects in the November election while driving a split in the business community.
Chamber leaders — including President Suzanne Clark, Chief Executive Officer Tom Donahue and Executive Vice President Neil Bradley — have been pushing the proposal ahead of a Thursday committee vote to finalize a slate of 2020 endorsements.
The Chamber has repeatedly clashed with Trump’s policies as he zig-zags between his populist base and his establishment donors.
For example, on June 22, Trump issued an Executive Order temporarily barring the inflow of visa workers preferred by Fortune 500 executives. In response, the pro-migration New York Times printed a pro-migration op-ed by the chamber CEO Thomas Donohue:
If you want businesses to grow and the economy to rebound, you allow skilled workers to come here legally to work and contribute to the well-being of our nation; you don’t lock them out. If you want the next revolutionary start-up to be founded in America, you welcome foreign students; you don’t threaten to upend their lives and send them home during the middle of a pandemic. And if you want children to grow up to reach their potential and live their American dream, you give them the tools and certainty to succeed; you don’t kick them out of the only country they’ve ever known.
Taken together, these decisions form a broader policy that essentially says, “keep out the skilled, the brilliant, the young seeking to help us grow.”
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“It is obvious that the Chamber fears populists more than Democrats, and what’s emblematic is their decision to back [Democrat] Kendra Horn over [Republican] Stephanie Bice in the 5th district of Oklahoma,” said Kevin Lynn, founder of U.S. Tech Workers.
Horn snatched a surprise win in a GOP district in 2018, and now is being funded by Democrat sources, Lynn said. By backing her, he said, the Chamber is saying, “We’ve got to make sure the populists don’t get a bigger toehold in the Congress.” He added:
They recognize that a big part of the populist agenda is the preservation of the nation-state and restricting immigration. The Chamber’s [executives] are neoliberals to the core – and they support the unrestricted movement of people and profit across the borders.
“Open borders is a traditional Chamber of Commerce value,” he said, adding that Chamber executives have always backed immigration, including back in the 1920s. “We have millions and millions of Americans who are unemployed and will not easily regain jobs — yet through all of this, the open-borders community has been unwavering in its push for more immigration,” Lynn said.
The Chamber’s board does not include many of the high-tech firms who most strongly oppose Trump’s policies on foreign labor and international trade. The technology companies tend to join technology-themed trade associations, such as the Information Technology Industry Council. But the trade associations frequently cooperate, often via lawsuits.
The Politico article spotlighted one possible opponent of the shift as Allen Wright. He is a board member and a vice-president at Devon Energy in Oklahoma. Devon Energy did not return a call from Breitbart News.
Energy companies are vulnerable to environmental regulations favored by the Democrat party, and they use relatively few of the visa H-1B or J-1 workers that President Donald Trump is excluding. Energy firms are also not dependent on free trade deals that allow investors to import goods whose production has been moved into cheap-labor countries.
The D.C.-based U.S. Chamber is legally distinct from state chambers of commerce.
Are rising wages good for national politics?
“You’re damn right they are,” US Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue said, adding: “They are good for national politics if you’re a politician, for sure.”https://t.co/R3n5uRb4C1
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) January 9, 2020
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