Last week’s failed health care votes in the Senate saw the end of Congress’ effort to repeal and replace Obamacare for the foreseeable future. This is clearly disappointing to us, as well as the millions of Americans whose health care needs are not being met by the current law. As we have said time and time again, Obamacare is proving unworkable as it drives up costs to businesses and consumers, and limits health care choices. Nevertheless, we cannot allow this loss to prevent us from proceeding on other important priorities – namely tax reform.
In a recent open letter to Congress, U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue wrote that “[a]t this point, Congress must more fully turn its attention to and accelerate its effort to enact tax reform, which will grow the economy and create jobs. We know many in Congress share this priority. It has been 30 years since our tax code was updated and American businesses and workers are suffering as a result.”
To this end, the U.S. Chamber will be preparing a concentrated, multi-faceted effort to enact the first major tax reform in 30 years. We know this will not be easy, and we know this will require compromise. However, we cannot allow Congress to squander this opportunity.
We will continue to keep the pressure on Congress to take action to address our concerns about Obamacare, but we must make sure that Congress keeps its promises to get this economy moving again. As Tom said in his open letter, “failure is not an option.”
Maggie, Kevin & Ben
Great Lakes Regional Office
As the conversation in Washington pivots from healthcare to tax reform, so, too, does the chatter around the country during this August recess period. While lawmakers are back home this month, we would love to hear from you if you are hosting your member of Congress (and even participate if schedules allow), especially on tax reform. What are they saying? How are your members responding? What are their priorities and do they align with those of your elected officials?
So, in advance of some of these discussions, what is the latest? On the heels of an open letter sent to Congress and congressional candidates on July 20th – in which our President & CEO, Tom Donohue, declared, “Members of Congress be warned: Failure (to enact tax reform) is not an option.” – the “Big Six” administration and congressional leadership issued a consensus statement. The key takeaway here was their commitment to fixing our broken tax code to better drive economic growth, expand American businesses both domestically and around the globe, and bolster our employees’ bottom lines. As far as specifics, one of the most contentious provisions of tax reform, the so-called Border Adjustment Tax, was officially jettisoned from future consideration.
In response, the U.S. Chamber applauded the leadership of the administration and Congress in aggressively seeking to pass comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform this year. For our part, the U.S. Chamber will continue to push comprehensive tax reform and evaluate any reform package based on its congruence with our Top Ten tax reform principles. For those deeper divers, please check out our comments to Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch sent earlier this summer. Meanwhile, here is our message:
For more things tax reform, please join Tom Donohue on next week’s state of play conference call. Click here to register for the half-hour call on Thursday, Aug 10, at 2pm EDT.
NAFTA Modernization Moves Forward (Federation Sign On Letter)
The debate over how to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has shifted into high gear. Last month, the Trump administration released its objectives for modernizing the 23-year-old trade deal. And negotiators recently held three days of public hearings with more than 140 stakeholders from across the economy, during which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shared its recommendations for updating the agreement. The negotiations will begin in Washington, D.C. from August 16-20.
As the leading voice for business in Washington and around the world, the Chamber has been at the center of the debate from the beginning—and for a simple reason. Some 14 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada and Mexico, and $1.3 trillion in trade crosses our borders annually. The livelihoods of many of our nation’s farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, service providers, and small businesses are directly or indirectly tied to NAFTA.
So the Chamber has fought hard to ensure that negotiators do no harm, preserving market access and rules that work well. We’ve pushed our leaders to follow the process set out in the 2015 Trade Promotion Authority law, which has the buy-in of Congress and the support of the business and agriculture communities. And to limit uncertainty and minimize political and economic harm, we’ve urged the administration to move quickly.
To add your voice and demonstrate your support for modernizing NAFTA, we’re asking you to add your organization’s name to a letter to the administration and the Congress on the importance of maintaining strong trade relationships with our neighbors.
You can also visit www.tradeworksforus.com/NAFTA to find resources, information, and tools to engage your employees and community on this issue.
If you have any questions, about NAFTA or our other work to promote international trade, please contact Derek Gianino at firstname.lastname@example.org.