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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

Exclusive: White House meeting with members of Problem Solvers Caucus

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus discuss the COVID-19 relief bill in December. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top White House officials will meet Wednesday with a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers as the administration tries to enlist moderates to support the president's infrastructure proposal.

Why it matters: The meeting is something of an olive branch after President Biden's team courted groups of progressives to back the $2.2 trillion package.

1 hour ago - Health

The new vaccine threat is fear itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The FDA’s decision to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine has set off a chain reaction of fear — about the safety of the vaccine, and about whether the FDA is overreacting — that's causing unnecessary drama just as the vaccine effort is finally picking up speed.

The big picture: Throughout the pandemic, the public and the media, and sometimes even regulators, have struggled to keep risks in perspective — to acknowledge them without exaggerating them, and to avoid downplaying them because other people will exaggerate them.

Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase heads to Wall Street

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Coinbase, the country's largest cryptocurrency exchange, is expected to go public today at what could be a valuation north of $100 billion.

Why it matters: This gives crypto a Wall Street seal of legitimacy, after an early existence marred by ties to illicit goods.