Republicans’ Big Break Up
Republicans just kicked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce out of the House.
Have you ever had a friend who is in a toxic relationship with a not-so-great person, but the pair just keep on dragging it on and on until the wheels completely fall off. And, once they do break up, you’re finally able to have a candid discussion with your friend about the lessons learned from that relationship, and they admit it wasn’t good for them, the other person, and the relationships they have with their friends and family?
This happened to me just this week, actually. You might know the two involved in this intimate relationship: Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Somehow, Punchbowl News was able to steal this juicy scoop out from underneath TMZ’s nose when they wrote Monday that, after cohabitating for decades, Republicans finally mustered up the nerve to kicked the U.S. Chamber of commerce out of the House… Republicans’ budget reconciliation strategy meetings.
When I informed Helen Andrews, The American Conservative’s magazine editor, that the two had finally broken up, she remarked, “it’s about time.”
Helen is exactly right, because, for years now, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been coming home late with the smell of Democrats’ perfume all over them. They didn’t even bother trying to cover the scent of Bleu de Démocrate, but still expected Republicans to serve them up a piping hot dish of savory subsidies and tasty tax cuts when they returned from their entanglement. Over the past year, it’s gotten brazenly worse.
Just days after the 2020 election, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley did an interview with the Washington Examiner in which he opposed Republican efforts to fully reopen the economy and was fully deferential to Dr. Fauci and public health bureaucrats. “We all want to open things,” Bradley said, “But being open in the midst of a pandemic requires that certain public health measures be taken. It starts with masks. If it’s a choice between mask requirements and shutting down the economy, I would hope everyone recognizes that mask requirements are the common sense choice.”
Such pushes from Republicans to fully reopen the country is a “stance does not appear to be coming from public health officials or hospitals or the medical community,” Bradley added, and suggested that small businesses would be happy to oblige with whatever restrictions the experts concocted to avoid full lockdown. The last point is obvious, as these small businesses have to do what they must in order to survive, but Bradley, and those like him, aren’t supporting small businesses by saying this. They’re offering veiled threats. Do as they tell you to, or we’ll help shut you down.
In mid February, shortly after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce became one of the biggest cheerleaders for the new president’s agenda. It praised Biden’s nearly $2 trillion Covid relief bill, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, and celebrated the Center of American Progress’s Neera Tanden for her nomination to direct the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, which ultimately failed. Even more scandalous than that, the Chamber of Commerce defended Biden’s decision to reenter the feckless Paris climate agreement, and made the rounds saying it was open to a minimum wage hike—albeit not to $15 an hour.
In September, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dispatched their legions of lobbyists to win the hearts and minds of Republican House members and save Biden’s infrastructure package. As it is now, the infrastructure plan was being held hostage by members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, seeking more “infrastructure” dollars for a number of extraneous social programs. Rather than knocking on their doors, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce turned its eyes on 57 House Republicans they thought they could win over.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is progressively becoming more supportive of employer vaccine mandates as well. It has published how to guides for employers on how to communicate and enforce a vaccine mandate in the workplace, and mandates the vaccine for its own staff and visitors.
This infidelity on such key issues may have finally given House Republicans the epiphany that capital and the big business interests the U.S. Chamber of Commerce defends actually hate their voters, and would hate them just as much in the absence of tax cuts for corporations.