Business & Lobbying

US Chamber of Commerce backs Democrats threatening to derail budget resolution

Greg Nash

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running digital ads praising nine moderate House Democrats who are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to immediately convene a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate earlier this month. 

Those Democratic lawmakers, led by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), have threatened to block leadership’s $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which serves as a framework for the reconciliation package, until the bipartisan infrastructure bill gets a floor vote.

The Chamber and other prominent business lobbying groups support the bipartisan plan, which invests over $1 trillion in infrastructure without raising taxes on corporations, but they strongly oppose Democrats’ larger reconciliation package that would be paid for with tax hikes.

Pelosi has insisted that the bipartisan bill must be coupled with a larger reconciliation package that invests in Democratic priorities such as addressing climate change and child care.

The Chamber earlier this week hosted a call with moderate lawmakers and other groups that support the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

During the call, Gottheimer said he is holding firm on his request to Pelosi, while Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), a fellow member of the moderate Problem Solvers Caucus, said he is rounding up Republican support for the bipartisan bill, according to a Chamber spokesperson. 

Just four Democratic defections would doom the party’s budget resolution, which is not expected to receive any Republican votes. But Pelosi has said she will press ahead with a vote early next week regardless, noting that the White House has urged every Democrat to support the measure.

The Chamber’s digital ads, placed in the Democratic lawmakers’ home states on Facebook Thursday, thank the nine Democrats for supporting the bipartisan plan.

The group consists of Reps. Gottheimer, Carolyn Bourdeaux (Ga.), Jared Golden (Maine), Ed Case (Hawaii), Jim Costa (Calif.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Filemon Vela (Texas), Henry Cuellar (Texas) and Vicente Gonzalez (Texas). 

Business lobbyists are aggressively pushing House lawmakers to pass the bipartisan plan without delay, privately noting that they will have an easier time defeating proposed corporate tax hikes in Democrats’ reconciliation package if an infrastructure bill has already been signed into law.

Still, some labor groups are also pushing for a swift infrastructure vote, putting additional pressure on Democratic leaders in the House.

David Mallino, legislative director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said on Friday’s call that the labor union’s message to lawmakers is to pass the infrastructure bill now. 

“It represents an economic boon to the country and the benefits are wide and diverse,” he said.

No Labels, a business-backed group that advocates for bipartisan legislation, launched its own ads supporting the nine moderate Democrats Thursday.

Business lobbyists have warned House Democrats that stalling the bipartisan infrastructure bill to prioritize the reconciliation package could hurt their reelection prospects. They point to recent polling from No Labels showing widespread support for the bipartisan plan, but less enthusiasm for Democrats’ $3.5 trillion proposal.

Tags Brian Fitzpatrick Ed Case Filemon Vela Infrastructure Jim Costa Josh Gottheimer Kurt Schrader Laborers’ International Union of North America Lobbying Nancy Pelosi No Labels Reconciliation tax hikes U.S. Chamber of Commerce
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