- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Big business declares war on tea party
Pledge to support GOP establishment
The recent fiscal crisis has opened a major rift between the tea party wing of the Republican Party and business groups that traditionally have backed Republicans, with many business leaders now vowing to get involved more in GOP primaries to try to counter insurgent candidates.
But business leaders argue that the scorched-earth tactics used by tea party Republicans during the 16-day shutdown and debate over raising the federal government’s borrowing limit marked the fourth time since the GOP took control of the House in 2011 that tea party adherents precipitated a governmental crisis that zapped consumer and business confidence, raised uncertainty and exerted a major drag on economic growth.
Besides encouraging more business-friendly candidates in primary contests, business groups are rallying behind establishment Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who is being targeted by tea party activists for brokering a deal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government, while launching a negotiation with Democrats over budget cuts and proposed tax and entitlement reforms.
Business executives agree with many tea party goals such as cutting the deficit and reforming entitlement spending, but they argue that conservative lawmakers have erred in their tactics and wounded the economy by driving the government with increasing frequency into states of crisis and dysfunction — this time for the ultimately unsuccessful cause of trying to force President Obama to cancel his health care law.
“There’s no question that this month’s government shutdown saga has been a spectacular failure,” said David French, senior vice president and lobbyist at the National Retail Federation, whose members constitute the nation’s largest group of employers.
Retailers were particularly frustrated that the long-running feud and standoff between the parties — which has been postponed until early next year — threatens for the second year in a row to spoil the critical Christmas shopping season, when one-quarter of all U.S. retail purchases are made and an even larger share of retail profits are made.
Besides the retail federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest U.S. business lobby, “will be getting more involved in primaries this cycle,” said Blair Latoff Holmes, the organization’s executive director for media relations.
He said the Chamber of Commerce has kept tabs on legislators’ votes on the debt ceiling and government shutdown as well as their positions on issues such as trade, immigration, and entitlement and tax reform, with an eye toward deciding which candidates to support.
Tea party independence?
Tea party leaders are defiant, threatening to run candidates as independents if business groups defeat them in next year’s Republican primaries. Already, conservative primary challengers have emerged to take on Republican Senate and House incumbents in states such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Idaho, Texas and South Carolina.
Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation, called business leaders who oppose the tea party “RINOs” (Republicans in name only) and “crony capitalists” who are “feeding at the government trough” and are interested only in “making the trains run on time” rather than changing the unsustainable course of government spending.
“Business is overreaching,” he said of their plans to oppose insurgent candidates in Republican primaries.
“Business can bring a lot of money to the table, but they can’t bring boots on the ground” in a way that rouses public support for Republican candidates the way the tea party does, he said.
But from Wall Street to Main Street, all of the major business associations, including the Chamber of Commerce, the retailers, the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers lobbied for quick passage of an increase in the nation’s debt limit and end to the shutdown to prevent another major economic slowdown at a time when many businesses hoped the economy would be picking up speed.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Inconvenient truth: China, developing world now biggest source of greenhouse gases
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- Economic growth jumped to 3.6 percent in summer
- Spending on social welfare rose as economy tanked during recession
- Treasury aims to sell off GM stock by end of year
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- NYC alarms with notice: Immediately surrender your rifle
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Global economy, the civilizing power of markets and public morals.
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Notes from a running nerd: musings and more on all things running.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow