By Walter Alarkon - 07/14/10 04:23 PM EDT
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is blasting the Obama administration and congressional Democrats for policies it says are expanding government and hindering an economic recovery.
The powerful business lobby group said Democrats and the White House have “neglected America’s number one priority” — creating jobs.
“Instead of continuing their partnership with the business community and embracing proven ideas for job creation, they vilified industries while embarking on an ill-advised course of government expansion, major tax increases, massive deficits, and job-destroying regulations,” the chamber wrote in an open letter to President Obama and lawmakers.
The chamber’s broadside comes after weeks of Republican attacks on the Obama administration for being “anti-business.” Both the chamber and GOP leaders in Congress have criticized the Democrats’ Wall Street reform package as another round of new regulations on top of the healthcare reform law that will add red tape and uncertainty for the private sector in the midst of a tepid recovery. The chamber is reportedly planning to spend $75 million in congressional midterm campaigns to go after Democrats and policies they don’t like.
The chamber will continue their press for more business-friendly policies on Wednesday during a jobs summit with both Democratic and GOP lawmakers.
Obama has pushed back against suggestions that his policies have hurt the private sector, pointing to tax cuts included in the $862 billion stimulus, which was supported by the chamber. White House officials touted the job creation effects of the stimulus Wednesday, releasing a report suggesting the tax cut and spending package increased employment by roughly 3 million jobs since it was enacted early last year.
The chamber, however, is now casting its lot with Republicans. They called on Congress to pass a number of measures championed by GOP leaders, including an extension of all of the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year, including those for people making more than $200,000. Democrats and the White House have pledged to extend only those for people making less than that amount.
The business group also called on Congress to cut the corporate tax rate, reduce the deficit through entitlement reforms and spending cuts, pass pending free-trade agreements and allow more oil-and-gas drilling.
“Government’s role is to establish the right conditions in which the private sector can do what it does best — foster economic growth, create innovative products and services, generate wealth, and, in the process, produce expanded revenues to educate our children, care for the sick and poor, and defend our nation,” the chamber wrote.