Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) both have refused to meet with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to the organization’s endorsement of Democrats.
In a statement to CNBC on Monday, Mark Bednar, a chief spokesman for McCarthy, said the priorities of the organization no longer align with the Republican Party.
“The priorities of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have not aligned with the priorities of House Republicans or the interests of their own members, and they should not expect a meeting with Speaker McCarthy as long as that’s the case,” Bednar said.
Lauren Fine, the spokeswoman for Steve Scalise, reiterated the same sentiment.
“Washington has radically shifted away from the pro-business philosophy of most local Chambers across America,” Fine said. “Unless the Chamber gets back to their traditional pro-business roots, they should not expect to have any engagement with Majority Leader Scalise’s office.”
According to CNBC, House Republicans may investigate the Chamber and have begun drafting questions to ask regarding its stance on the Biden administration’s push for environmental regulations in the name of climate change:
McCarthy’s refusal to meet with the Chamber is the latest strike in an ongoing feud between some House Republican members and the Chamber of Commerce. The Intercept reported that House Republicans plan to investigate the Chamber as GOP lawmakers take on anyone who supports President Joe Biden’s push for more environmental, social, and governance (ESG) regulations. The Daily Caller reported that the Chamber plans to sue the Securities and Exchange Commission if it goes forward with a climate change related disclosure rule.
Republican House lawmakers are drafting questions to send the Chamber in the coming weeks, asking about its stance on ESG issues as well as questioning some of the Chamber’s own conduct, including the reportedly allowing former Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue use the trade group’s corporate jet for personal trips, according to lawmakers and advisors aiming to probe the organization. These people declined to be named in order to speak freely about private discussions.
Kevin McCarthy (CA) told Breitbart News in January of last year that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would no longer be welcomed in the Republican Party if it continues to endorse Democrats and back big business at the expense of Americans.Matthew Perdie / Breitbart News, Jack Knudsen / Breitbart News
“The Chamber left the party a long time ago,” McCarthy said. “In the last election, the Chamber supported Democrats. The Chamber gave a higher score to Democrats, who are voting for this policy because they signed some letter then voted the opposite of what the letter said, than Kevin Brady, who was chair of Ways and Means and brought us the tax cuts.”
“I just assume they have as much influence in the future as they do now—none,” he added. “Our responsibility is to the American public. That is who’s going to drive it. If special interests are the American public then they’ll have a say, but it’s the American public we’re going to.”
The Chamber also backed several Democrats over Republicans during the 2020 congressional elections, working to preserve the Democrat majority.
“Had Republicans flipped just a handful more seats—they flipped a net 15 from Democrats in 2020—they would have the majority instead of the Democrats right now. The Chamber, which endorsed 23 House Democrats in 2020, may have made the difference in helping keep the Democrats in the majority as some of the members the business group endorsed survived tight reelection races,” Breitbart News noted.
Tim Doyle, a spokesman for the Chamber of Commerce, told CNBC that the group has no partisan leanings and endorses policies in line with Republicans.
“The Chamber’s priorities include lower taxes, reduced spending, fighting overregulation and numerous other issues, and we are aligned with House Republicans on many of the issues that are important to American businesses of all sizes,” Doyle said. “We do disagree with those who believe the Chamber should become a single-party partisan organization and we recognize that difference has created some tension. We will continue, however, to do what we have done for over 110 years and that is advance the free-market priorities of the American business community.”