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Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Eric Piermont/Getty Images

Tom Donohue, the longtime CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will deliver a speech Thursday urging bipartisan support for issues that Democrats hold dear — like climate change and infrastructure investment, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the largest business organization in the U.S., and some of Donohue's remarks will be a departure for a group that has, under his leadership, "battled environmental regulations, restrictions on cigarette packaging, workplace antidiscrimination rules and minimum-wage requirements," as WSJ put it.

The big picture: The remarks Donohue plans to deliver today — provided first to Axios — will call for the passing of "35 bipartisan bills that can help address climate change through innovation and investment."

  • "Inaction is not an option," Donohue will argue in the speech, which will be carried live at 10 a.m. Eastern on the Chamber's website. "So let’s flip the conventional wisdom that nothing gets done in an election year."
  • The remarks will stress bipartisan action, and follow a meeting with "a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers to talk about all the things we want to do together in 2020."
  • Donohue also will argue for immigration reform — though the Chamber has long advocated letting more immigrants come to the U.S., to help companies fill jobs.

Between the lines: The speech marks the latest break from the staunch support for Republicans that has been a hallmark of the organization for years, after the Chamber got a cold-shoulder from President Trump, as the WSJ detailed last year.

The backstory: Last April, the Chamber was dubbed by the Washington Post as "the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Washington."

  • The Post article said it had 499 full-time employees, a 95% renewal rate among its members (though it doesn't publish a list, there are said to be 3 million). It also said that members pay $100,000 or more in annual dues — and that the Chamber pulled in $233 million in revenue (with no debt) in 2018.
  • Donohue is set to leave the organization in 2022 after relinquishing his role as president last year. His departure came amid a WSJ investigation that found he spent lavishly on corporate jets provided by the Chamber for both professional and personal trips.

The bottom line: In 2019 the Chamber began working to move away from the GOP and embrace more centrist policies, as the lobbying group clashed with Trump on some positions, most notably immigration, trade and climate change.

Go deeper

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker