Chamber chief lays out biz lobby's agenda

The head of the nation's biggest business lobby laid out a broad policy agenda Wednesday that he said would continue the nation's economic recovery, while guarding against a weakening of overseas markets.

Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, called for immigration reform, cybersecurity information sharing legislation and amending financial regulatory laws during his annual State of American Business address.

"Contrary to what some of our political leaders have said, businesses really do create the jobs," Donohue said. "Whether they reside on Main Street or even on Wall Street, businesses are not the enemy. They are a big part of the solution to the challenges we face as a nation and a people."

Donohue spelled out a host of the Chamber's policy positions, including a call for an end to the Affordable Care Act's (ObamaCare's) 30-hour workweek provision, requiring businesses to provide health insurance for employees who work 30 hours per week. The business community wants to change that to 40 hours per week.

Donohue said that one of the organization's "top priorities" is for Congress to pass trade promotion authority, which would fast track trade deals, allowing them to go through Congress without amendment.

Progressives have balked at the option, arguing that it would allow for provisions to be attached to agreements without congressional vetting.

He called for the government "not to add uncertainty" adding, "there's no reason to think that another recession is lurking out there in the near-term."

"But when you look beyond the near-term, the outcome becomes more uncertain," he said.

Donohue called for changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street law, noting that a third of the legislation hasn't even been implemented yet, causing great uncertainty for businesses.

He said Congress should place the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under the traditional appropriations process. Currently, the CFPB is funded through the Federal Reserve.

He signaled that the Chamber would be vocal during a looming tax reform debate, too.

"The Chamber plans to be at the table on the theory that if you're not at the table you're on the menu," Donohue said. "We will not support an approach that uses tax reform as an excuse" to raise taxes on the business community.