Business groups tell House Republicans: No anti-Obamacare hostage-taking

Business Republicans do not want a government shutdown. They do not want the full faith and credit of the United States to be undermined by a refusal to raise the debt limit.

Threatening to shut down the government and to not increase the debt limit are the strategies chosen by Tea Party groups to try to stop funding of the Affordable Care Act. (By the way, a shutdown wouldn’t cut off the ACA’s revenue stream. Much like Social Security, nearly all of this funding commitment is now automatically set.)

Now the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has joined the Wall St. Journal editorial page in opposing a shutdown and debt default.

It’s fascinating to see how the Chamber of Commerce starts by telling its usual allies that they, you know, support capitalism.

The Chamber’s open letter to House Republicans begins:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending America’s free enterprise system, urges the House of Representatives to pass H.J. Res. 59, the “Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014,” to ensure the uninterrupted funding of the federal government into the next fiscal year at spending levels consistent with P.L. 112-25, the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Making clear a shutdown and default would cause real economic harm, the letter states:

It is not in the best interest of the U.S. business community or the American people to risk even a brief government shutdown that might trigger disruptive consequences or raise new policy uncertainties washing over the U.S. economy.

Likewise, the U.S. Chamber respectfully urges the House of Representatives to raise the debt ceiling in a timely manner and thus eliminate any question of threat to the full faith and credit of the United States government.

Also weighing in on this hostage-taking is the Business Roundtable, which describes itself as “an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with $7.4 trillion in annual revenues and more than 16 million employees.”

According to a new study by the Business Roundtable:

Fifty percent of responding CEOs indicated that the ongoing disagreement in Washington over the 2014 budget and the debt ceiling is having a negative impact on their plans for hiring additional employees over the next six months.

Typically allied with Republicans and consistently giving most of their campaign donations to Republicans, business groups are saying, please, please don’t do this.

Will House Republicans listen? And, if not, will these business groups decide they have to reconsider which politicians they support? Look for Republican party leaders, to the extent they exist anymore, to try to resolve this situation and heal this schism.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.