Chamber of Commerce presses House Republicans to back Boehner's plan

The nation's largest business lobby is making all-out push to get House lawmakers to support House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) plan to raise the nation's debt limit.

In a letter sent to lawmakers on Tuesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce minced no words when it came to both the package and the need to raise the debt limit.

"This legislation is critical. Default on debt obligations is not an acceptable option. The time for Congress to act is now," wrote R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber's executive vice president for government affairs.

He added that the Chamber is considering scoring the vote for its annual scorecard.

Josten admitted that "while no legislation is perfect," Boehner's proposal represents a "necessary first step" by making initial spending cuts and putting in place a mechanism to ensure further cuts in the future.

And the group made clear, as it has in the past, that the debt limit must be raised to avoid economic disaster.

"A default on the obligations of the United States would most assuredly cause severe, immediate, and pervasive economic harm in the form of higher interest rates, a decline in the dollar, a drop in the stock markets, higher oil prices, and the loss of economic growth and jobs," wrote Josten.

"Congress and the Administration have haggled for months without success over ways to address long-run debt and deficit issues and how to raise the debt ceiling," he added. "Political brinksmanship is no longer an acceptable strategy for either the White House or congressional leaders."

The Chamber's call for passage offers a stark contrast to the handful of conservative groups that have come out against the proposal. The Club for Growth, National Taxpayers Union and Heritage Action today urged lawmakers to vote down Boehner's package, calling it an insufficient approach to dealing with the deficit.

Conservative Republicans have also lined up against the measure, including Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

Boehner’s plan, according to estimates, would allow the ceiling to be raised until early next year. A new debt panel created by the proposal would be tasked with finding more deficit cuts that, if accepted, would allow the ceiling to be raised again. 

The Chamber's letter became public shortly after President Obama threatened to veto Boehner's proposal.