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Climate, Trade Issues High On US Chamber’s 2007 Agenda January 4, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–The world’s largest business federation Thursday laid out its agenda for 2007, listing climate change, transportation infrastructure, and global trade among its top issues.

The Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 3 million companies, said it will also continue its push for legislation that would alter operations at the Committee on Foreign Investment (CIFIUS).

An immigration reform package that would create an efficient guest worker program is also on the chamber’s agenda.

“Immigration reform is critical to our ability to find needed workers in the face of changing demographics,” said Thomas Donohue, the chamber’s president and CEO, in a press briefing in Washington Thursday.

He added: “People who oppose guest worker programs are as dumb as a box of rocks.”

Donohue argued that the nation’s businesses face serious challenges that, if not addressed, could hurt their ability to compete in the global market for jobs, capital and talent. Thus, the chamber will have “a broad and ambitious agenda of change and reform,” he said.

On energy issues, Donohue said the chamber plans to work towards a consensus on climate change policy. The goal, he said, is to create an approach that would continue to allow jobs to thrive and protect businesses from disarray.

Democrats, who are now in control of Congress, have promised to make climate change a top priority and Donohue said the chamber has no intention of fighting that.

“Lots of companies are going green. We’re not going to spend our time in a scientific debate,” Donohue said. “We’re going to try to manage the issue… on a common sense basis.”

Donohue also argued that the federal government should address the business community’s human capital concerns by strengthening school systems across the country.
And he said the chamber will push for resolution of certain trade issues.

“On Capitol Hill, the chamber will not back away from an expansive trade agenda – including a Doha agreement, bilateral Free Trade Agreements, and temporary renewal of presidential Trade Promotion Authority,” he said.

Additionally, the chamber will push for actions that would improve the nation’s roads, highways, ports, railroads and waterways. “We’re 20 years behind on infrastructure,” he said. “We’re about to get into gridlock in a big way.”

By Maya Jackson Randall, Dow Jones Newswires

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