The Chamber and the Stimulus


Pat Garofalo takes a look at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s take on the stimulus proposal. Basically, they like the corporate tax cuts to which worth projects like mass transit have had to take a seat, but they want even more business tax cuts.

When you talk about bipartisanship, this—the attitude of major business lobbies—is probably more important than what John Boehner does or doesn’t say on Meet The Press. As we saw during the initial TARP vote, corporate America can deliver Republican votes for things the Republicans don’t really want to vote for. Any $800 billion bill split between tax and spending provisions is going to include some stuff people like, and some stuff people don’t like, and therefore a lot of members who could conceivably go either way. Thus one key question is whether in exchange for their business tax cuts, folks like the Chamber are going to need to pony up some bipartisan cover for the bill? Or are they going to be able to get away with a situation in which the administration lards the bill down with “pro business” corporate tax breaks, then the legislators the Chamber most loyally backs all vote against the bill anyway and campaign against its proponents two years from now for undue profligacy? Businessmen and their lobbyists are the quintessential pragmatists, so you can imagine bargaining with them much more easily than with an ideologue like Mike Pence. But being pragmatists, they also wouldn’t give anything away when they could avoid doing so.