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Capitol Report: U.S. Chamber’s CEO warns Biden administration on ‘excessive regulation or anticompetitive taxes’

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday emphasized its opposition to potential increases in some regulations or taxes, while also calling for another push on infrastructure spending as well as improving trade relations.

“As a new government prepares to take the reins, we must prevent a return to excessive regulation or anticompetitive taxes,” said the lobbying group’s CEO, Thomas Donohue, as he delivered an annual “State of American Business” address ahead of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.

Donohue called for a bipartisan infrastructure package that would “create jobs and drive up incomes in hurry,” saying advocates have been pushing for spending on roads, bridges and broadband for more than 20 years.

“Even in a 50-50 Senate and the House divided by only five votes, this can get done,” he said. “This year there can be no excuse for failure.”

Regarding trade, the chamber executive said the U.S. “must re-engage with the world through a bold trade agenda” and “revitalize our alliances to reaffirm American leadership in multinational organizations like the WTO and the WHO and restore our credibility on the global stage.” WTO stands for World Trade Organization, while WHO is short for World Health Organization.

Tuesday’s speech by the CEO of the chamber, which is the country’s biggest business-lobbying group, comes after last week’s U.S. jobs report  showed that the country lost jobs in December for the first time in eight months as the COVID-19 pandemic bore down on the economy again and forced businesses to resort to more layoffs.

His remarks also follow news that the chamber drew flak from President Donald Trump and other Republicans for endorsing Democrats in November races after years of reliably supporting GOP candidates.

Donohue’s wide-ranging address included a call for lawmakers to fund “rapid training programs to connect the unemployed with jobs in new sectors,” as well as a pledge to “work cooperatively with the Biden administration to reform our immigration system to meet the needs of a modern economy.”

“Even if we successfully employed every American willing and able to work, we would still face significant labor shortages in construction, agriculture, health care, retail, manufacturing and technology,” he said.

In addition, Donohue condemned last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol building by a mob of Trump’s supporters. He said: “Violence has no place in our democracy.”

U.S. stocks
SPX,
+0.06%

DJIA,
+0.16%

traded slightly lower on Tuesday. Analysts said investors were largely shrugging off political risks around a possible second impeachment of Trump as well as prospects for further civil unrest as Biden’s inauguration approaches.

Now read: Business leaders call for action on Trump after mob siege at Capitol

And see: Companies stop political spending after violent Capitol riots: ‘They’ve been playing with fire’

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