Jun 13, 2021 - Economy

Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark defends overture to Democrats


U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Suzanne Clark told me on "Axios on HBO" that the business group was right to endorse vulnerable House Democrats last year, despite the flak that resulted from Republicans.

  • Clark, who took over the top job in March, said those House Democrats "had really helped push business's number one priority, which was the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, over the finish line."
  • "All of the Republicans that we work with on tax, on regulation — those people are really, really important to us," she added: "So we have to be willing to have a different coalition on every issue."

I asked her how she'd describe the chamber's relationship with Congress.

  • "Strong."

With Democrats?

  • "Strong."

With Republicans?

  • "Strong."

I challenged that — a headline on the conservative website RedState last month said: "Republicans Tell the Chamber of Commerce to Pound Sand." That reflects many of my recent conversations with Republicans.

  • "You asked me how I felt about our relationships on the Hill, and I said 'strong,' she replied. "I'm sticking with it. ... I'm not having the same conversations."
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