You are hereWashington Post: Chamber of Commerce losing battles against Obama

Washington Post: Chamber of Commerce losing battles against Obama

July 22, 2010- Over the past year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent nearly $3 million a week in opposition to President Obama's major agenda items, breaking all previous lobbying records and placing a political bet on the Republican Party.

But so far, it's not clear how well the gamble has paid off.

The Chamber's formidable lobbying prowess -- about $150 million spent since Obama took office -- did not stop passage of the administration's two signature achievements: the health-care overhaul and the Wall Street reform bill the president signed into law Wednesday. The nation's largest business group has lost battles over, among other things, student-loan legislation, credit-card reforms and a landmark measure that expands workers' rights to sue for equal pay.

The business lobby, which vows to spend $75 million or more on November's midterm election cycle, has also struggled to pick winners in this year's primaries. More than half a dozen Chamber-backed GOP candidates have gone down to defeat.

But the Chamber has had success in blocking other pieces of Democratic legislation or, in the case of health-care reform and financial regulation, shaping the final bills to the group's liking.

Thomas J. Collamore, the Chamber's senior vice president of communications, highlighted the group's efforts against a pro-union "card check" bill, cap-and-trade climate legislation and a proposed public insurance option.

"The Chamber's playing a critical role as the leading advocate for the business community in Washington," he said in a statement.



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