New York Post: Republicans Trash Chamber Of Commerce Over Big Tech Lobbying

May 9, 2022

New York Post

The US Chamber of Commerce has jumped into the political fight over Big Tech — and the group’s staunch opposition to antitrust reform is alienating many Republicans in Congress, The Post has learned.

While America’s biggest and best-funded business lobby once enlisted Republicans to defend oil and tobacco companies against their Democratic foes, critics now say Big Tech funders including Meta, Google and Amazon are increasingly setting the group’s agenda.

Despite the 110 year-old Chamber’s considerable funding — including a $65 million lobbying budget in 2021 — more than a half dozen current and former Congressional Republican sources told The Post that the group’s influence has nosedived as the group has largely been frozen out of policy discussions since Donald Trump left office.

“I don’t think the Chamber has much, if any, juice with Republicans now at all,” one House GOP aide told The Post.

“The Chamber of Commerce takes a lot of money from Big Tech and so they diligently do their bidding,” said Mike Davis, a former top aide for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). “Today’s conservatives understand that corporate power is oftentimes even more oppressive than government power.” 

The Chamber also angered the GOP by endorsing a slate of moderate Democrats in 2020 and was banned from House Republican strategy calls last year in a spat over infrastructure.

Or as one Republican lobbyist put it: “The Chamber is in the wilderness.”

Conflict between the GOP and the Chamber intensified in 2021 when the Chamber lobbied heavily for President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was opposed by former President Donald Trump and other top Republicans. After the Chamber criticized the party’s top brass for whipping votes against the bill, House Republican leadership banned the group from strategy calls.

Hours after news of the Chamber’s ban broke, Axios reported that the Chamber had flip-flopped and pulled its support for the infrastructure bill — but the ban from GOP calls appears to still stand more than six months later.

Reached for comment for this story, a spokesperson for House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) told The Post, “We don’t think organizations who endorsed Democrats and are pushing key parts of Biden’s radical, inflation-fueling agenda have any business being on Republican strategy calls.” 

Asked about last year’s battles with the GOP, the chamber spokesman said, “The U.S. Chamber’s legislative strategy the past few years has yielded significant results, most notably the bipartisan infrastructure package is law and the tax-and-spend reconciliation bill is not.”

Read the full article HERE.

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