The United States Chamber of Commerce, which put tens of millions of dollars into Republican campaigns in 2010, did not see a return on their investment. They along with the National Association of Manufacturers and companies like Boeing and Caterpillar, really wanted a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank which assists American companies overseas. The Ex-Im has been reauthorized repeatedly since it was created in 1934, but not this year. In 2012, the Republicans fought over the reauthorization and held it up for months, harming American overseas commerce.
Every company in America that has anything to do with road or bridge building, and the local businesses that benefit from the paychecks asphalt truck drivers take home, and most state governments, wanted the transportation bill passed so we could start (preferably before summer was over) repairing our roads and crumbling bridges. The Republican Congress held that one up to the very last minute.
Businesses want the Senate to ratify a treaty about international usage of our oceans, the Law of the Sea Convention, LOSC. They say it would aid in the transportation of oil, gas and other resources and create thousands of jobs. Conservatives oppose it and have told the gullible that it would turn over to the United Nations all control over our waterways and ban hand guns in America. They call it the Law of the Sea Treaty – LOST.
The Republican leadership and groups like the Club for Growth and Heritage Action claim that the marketplace should determine which businesses fail and which succeed. Senator Jim DeMint told the Associated Press, “What we find now is this cronyism and this corporate welfare, it’s corrupting the politics because there’s nothing now that goes through that doesn’t have a corporate interest. It’s not just the Ex-Im Bank. It’s the transportation bill that has huge entities involved. The farm bill basically guarantees large corporate farmers.” He warned that the combination of government and industry is turning America into a nation “too big to succeed.”
Democrats are also giving business headaches, but for a different reason.
Russia is poised to be admitted to the World Trade Organization, which would normalize trade relations with America. Russia has the world’s ninth largest economy, but only accepted $11 billion in American goods in 2011. But, Democrats are not willing to open trade relations with a nation we are in conflict with over Syria and Russia’s own human rights record. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Max Baucus is suggesting he will link human rights legislation, possible sanctions over Syria, to any bill about normalizing trade.
The Tea Party wing of the Republican Party opposes anything that they think constitutes “corporate welfare,” any program or funding that assists businesses, except – big except here – doing something about the companies that don’t pay any taxes or the subsidies for oil companies. They say they are in favor of letting the “marketplace” choose the winners and losers in business, but support policies that favor a handful of segments in business, like banking and oil.
It would be nice if the Chamber of Commerce and other leading business organizations could let go of their biases and realize the President Obama and a Democratic-controlled House and Senate might be better for them than sticking with the increasingly dogmatic Republicans.