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Conservative House Republican welcomes Clark as chief of US Chamber

Conservative House Republican welcomes Clark as chief of US Chamber
© Greg Nash

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), the conservative Republican caucus, embraced the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s incoming chief executive after a year that has seen a rocky relationship develop between the lobbying group and House Republicans. 

Chamber President Suzanne Clark was named the new CEO of the group and will take over for longtime CEO Tom Donohue in March. 

RSC Chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.) quickly tweeted after the news broke that he looks forward to working with her and the Chamber. 

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“While we will certainly disagree on some issues, conservatives agree with Chamber positions on cutting burdensome regulations, lowering taxes and creating jobs. Now with a reset of the Chamber’s leadership, I hope we can find common ground to work together on our shared goals and counter the radical Left’s job-killing agenda,” Banks told The Hill in a statement. 

The Chamber last month said it would halt political contributions to certain lawmakers following the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last month, though it did not indicate which lawmakers would lose its support. Banks voted against certifying the election results on Jan. 6.

When asked if the Chamber should resume contributions to GOP lawmakers who voted to overturn the election on Jan. 6, a Banks aide said, “nothing’s changed.”

“Republicans support less regulation and lower taxes and American jobs. The Biden agenda does not. The chamber supporting those who hate business is like feeding your arm to an alligator,” the Banks aide said. 

The Chamber, which has traditionally been aligned with Republicans, also came under criticism for endorsing an unprecedented number of Democrats in the 2020 cycle.

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The controversial move to endorse  23 first-term House Democrats led to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyPelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality Pelosi, Schumer must appoint new commissioners to the CARES Act oversight panel Cheney: 'It is disgusting and despicable' to see Gosar 'lie' about Jan. 6 MORE (R-Calif.) saying he didn’t want the Chamber’s endorsement “because they have sold out.”

Banks has been endorsed by the chamber every cycle since he’s been in Congress.

"The U.S. Chamber is proud to work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, who will join us in our mission to create jobs and economic growth to stage a broad-based economic recovery from the ongoing pandemic," the Chamber said in a statement to The Hill.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Democrats' campaign arm seizes on latest Greene controversy NRCC chairman, Texas lawmakers among top earmark requesters House GOP campaign arm raises .2 million in April MORE (R-Minn.), declined to comment on the Chamber’s announcement on Clark.

Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Capitol Police Board signals resistance to reform McCarthy says that he will not support bipartisan deal for Jan. 6 commission MORE (R-Ill.), who voted in favor of accepting the Electoral College results, told The Hill, “I enjoy working with the Chamber. Neil Bradley is somebody who I worked with when he was on Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorBottom line Virginia GOP candidates for governor gear up for convention Cantor: 'Level of craziness' in Washington has increased 'on both sides' MORE’s team at the House.”

Neil Bradley is the chief policy officer at the Chamber and a familiar face for House Republicans. He used to work for McCarthy and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

“Was I happy that they endorsed more Democrats than they had in past election cycles? Of course not. In the end, many of those Democrats who were endorsed were beat by Republicans who are now members of our conference. I hope the Chamber offers those Republicans the opportunity to receive those endorsements that they didn’t get last time,” Davis said. 

Davis noted that, while some of the Chamber’s stances collided with former President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Carolina Senate passes trio of election measures 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos MORE, he thinks the Chamber will be realistic about supporting President BidenJoe BidenJapan to possibly ease COVID-19 restrictions before Olympics 14 Republicans vote against making Juneteenth a federal holiday China supplies millions of vaccine doses to developing nations in Asia MORE.

“I cannot imagine that the Biden administration is going to work with Republicans in Congress to push some commonsense legislation. You don’t have to look too much further than today when we’re seeing an almost $2 trillion stimulus bill working through the reconciliation process,” he said.

He added, “I believe the Chamber will recognize that and I hope that our Republican members who were not endorsed as candidates will gain the opportunity that I had last time.”