Chamber of Commerce takes dig at Democratic candidates' stances on business

Chamber of Commerce takes dig at Democratic candidates' stances on business
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Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue said businesses need to participate in the national debate over the role of free enterprise during the 2020 election cycle.

He pointed to four specific areas of debate: the federalization of some American businesses, the elimination of private health insurance, a ban on energy production, major redistributions of wealth to pay for government programs, and proposals to limit businesses’ lobbying and political engagement.

“The business community must not, and will not, stand on the sidelines of these debates,” Donohue said at the annual State of American Business address on Thursday.

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He noted that the Chamber, the influential business advocacy group, does not engage in partisan politics.

“We will praise or criticize proposals by presidential candidates from both parties. We will lead the opposition to the policies that undermine the job creators, that penalize the innovators, and that target the wealth creators and investors that allow Americans to provide for their families and plan for their futures,” he said.

Donohue did not mention any candidates by name in his speech. 

Several progressives vying for the Democratic presidential nomination are running on a platform of "Medicare for All," and the elimination of private health insurance has been a consistent topic in the debates.

Other proposals have also caught the ire of the business community.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — HHS has no plans to declare emergency over coronavirus | GOP senator calls for travel ban to stop outbreak | Warren releases plan to contain infectious diseases Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa MORE (D-Mass.) unveiled in October a plan to tax corporations and organizations that spend $500,000 or more annually on lobbying the federal government, a move that lobbyists immediately argued would be unconstitutional.

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A week later, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew campaign ad goes after Sanders by mentioning heart attack Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Steyer rebukes Biden for arguing with supporter he thought was Sanders voter MORE (I-Vt.), another White House hopeful, announced a proposal for a massive overhaul of public elections by ending super PACs and banning donations from federal lobbyists and corporations, among other ideas. 

“Right now, the majority of workers are missing out. When I hear politicians talk about this problem, it is all too often followed by a plan for more regulation. But that is exactly the wrong approach,” Donohue said.

He added, “And for our friends on the right and the left who want to break up companies they have deemed 'too big,' there is a simple solution — and it’s not more government intervention. It’s more competition.”

Warren has been a leading voice in the call for breaking up Silicon Valley’s largest technology companies and the major banks in the U.S.

“Today, the Chamber is calling upon all leaders — across the public and private sectors — to set a national goal of getting the startup rate back up over 500,000 a year and pushing through 250 new IPOs a year,” Donohue said.