U.S. Chamber of Commerce Will ‘Turn Up The Heat’ On Candidates Who Don’t Support Immigration Reform

CREDIT: AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin

U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Thomas Donohue

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has committed to aggressively lobby for and financially support midterm election candidates who prioritize immigration reform in 2014. During a State of American Business speech on Wednesday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue said that the Chamber would “pull out all the stops” to lobby for immigration reform in 2014 by “turn[ing] up the heat” on candidates who oppose passing reform and financially backing those who support it.

We’re determined to make 2014 the year that immigration reform is finally enacted. The Chamber will pull out all of the stops through grassroots lobbying, communications, politics, and partnerships with our friends in the union, and faith-based organizations, and law enforcement groups, and others to get this job done.

Now the pundits will tell you it’s going to be very hard to accomplish anything this year. After all, don’t you remember, it’s an election year. We hope to turn that assumption on its ear, by turning the upcoming election for motivation for change. It’s based on the theory that if you can’t make them see the light, then at least let’s make them feel the heat. In primaries and in general elections, we will support candidates who want to work within the legislative process to solve the nation’s problems and who understand that business is not the problem, but that business is part of the solution.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has previously expressed support for a “commonsense immigration reform” bill. Prior to the Senate passing its comprehensive immigration bill in June 2013, the Chamber released ads featuring conservative leaders like Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) who voiced the need for reform.

Yet Donohue’s recent enthusiasm seems less than sincere given that the Chamber’s political action committee has otherwise helped contributed millions to at least 19 Republican candidates who opposed immigration reform in 2010 and again in 2012. What’s more, thirteen senators who received the Chamber’s support voted against the Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill in June 2013.