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The Chamber of Commerce. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement late Monday clarifying its support for the Senate-passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill if passed independently. But it rejected President Biden linking it to his broader, $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.

Driving the news: The statement came shortly after the Chamber told Axios it opposed passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, given Biden linked the measure to his reconciliation proposal during his meeting with House Democrats on Friday.

  • Punchbowl News had earlier reported House Republicans were booting the Chamber from its strategy calls, a move that was seen as a formal rejection of the pro-business organization after months of fraying relations.

What they're saying: "Prior to last Friday, it was clear that Congress could enact the infrastructure bill without enacting the reconciliation bill," the Chamber's statement reads.

  • "Now, Congressional Democrats are linking the two bills together, resulting in holding the infrastructure bill hostage until the reconciliation bill moves forward.
  • "We will not back off our opposition to reconciliation because of our support for infrastructure."

Context: In a letter to the Chamber's Board of Directors on Monday, obtained by Axios, the Chamber's chief policy officer, Neil Bradley, pointed specifically to the news the infrastructure bill would not be voted upon first when criticizing the bipartisan bill.

  • “The events of the last few days make it all the more crucial that everyone across the business community does everything in our power to ensure the reconciliation bill does not pass," Bradley continued.
  • "While the Chamber believes that passing infrastructure as a stand-alone bill prior to consideration of the reconciliation bill would have enhanced our position, that is no longer a realistic possibility."

Between the lines: Punchbowl News' story about the decision by House Republicans to cut the Chamber from its strategy calls was largely seen as a formal rejection of the pro-business organization after months of fraying relations.

The backdrop: The Chamber has long been calling on Republicans to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and has even been courted by the White House to help them promote the bipartisan measure.

Go deeper: Chamber of Commerce clarifies infrastructure bill support

Editor’s note: Updates throughout with the Chamber clarifying its position on the $1.2 trillion bill.

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress begins yearend sprint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House and Senate face an onslaught of deadlines key to fulfilling members' campaign promises and keeping the government afloat as they return from recess this week.

Why it matters: The next few weeks will be pivotal to enacting President Biden's agenda — and determining how the Democratic Party fares in the midterm elections.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

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