Chamber of Commerce and GOP Collude on Amnesty
Tom Donohue: Washington Oligarch
Paymaster to House Republicans
When John Boehner and his cohorts in the House Republican majority finally cut the deal on immigration reform, they will have one man to thank for their success – Tom Donohue, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
One of the most powerful people in Washington, Donohue presides over American business interests from his palatial headquarters across Lafayette Park from the White House. Donohue is that rare combination of toughness and manners – a hard-edged fellow from the Bronx who looks like a banker. He knows what he wants and how to get it.
This year Donohue wants immigration reform. In his immodestly titled “State of American Business 2014” speech, delivered to usher in the New Year, Donohue bluntly described a top Chamber priority for 2014.
“We’re determined to make 2014 the year that immigration reform is finally enacted,” he said. “The Chamber will pull out all the stops—through grassroots lobbying, communications, politics, and partnerships with unions, faith organizations, law enforcement, and others—to get it done.”
In an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News, Donohue mentioned other Chamber priorities for the year – stimulating job growth, expanding trade, controlling health care costs – but towards the end of the interview, he really got serious.
“We’re going to get a bill,” he said of prospects for House action on immigration reform. “We need those workers.” Donohue praised Senate passage of immigration reform where he claimed labor and management worked together to pass a bill.
Donohue is optimistic for one key reason – he is the chief paymaster for Speaker Boehner’s Republican majority. The U.S. Chamber will donate millions in campaign contributions to support House incumbents and first time candidates who back immigration reform. The Chamber will spend millions more to lobby hard for exactly the right bill that meets its needs.
American business wants an influx of cheap labor. House Republicans what campaign contributions. Boehner will decide who does and who does not receive a campaign donation. Everyone – especially Tom Donohue – will be happy.
Donohue has another target – the Tea Party – and once again he means business. The Chamber plans to wade into Republican primaries with manpower and cash to assure that the GOP fields general election candidates who support immigration reform.
In his Chamber speech, Donohue bluntly debunked talk among media pundits that it will be hard to accomplish anything in an election year.
“We hope to turn that assumption on its ear by turning the upcoming elections into a motivator for change,” he said. “It’s based on a simple theory—if you can’t make them see the light, then at least make them feel some heat.”
In other words, Tea Party candidates beware. Oppose the Chamber on immigration reform and you will feel the full weight of American business.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce boasts that it is the world’s largest business organization, representing more than 3 million businesses of all sizes.
“They all share one thing in common – they count on the Chamber to be their voice in Washington D.C,” the Chamber says on its website.
As the 2014 election cycle unfolds, House Republicans can assume they will hear the voice of one man – Tom Donohue.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.