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U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Mission: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions.

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Campaign Priority Bills and Proposals POPVOX Sentiment Take Action
H.R. 4414
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April 9, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S ...

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6 total users

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H.Con.Res. 96
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April 8, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S ...

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64% 36%

565 total users

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H.R. 3189
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March 12, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S ...

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459 total users

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H.R. 2641
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March 6, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S ...

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73% 27%

187 total users

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H.R. 3826
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March 4, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S ...

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69% 31%

416 total users

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H.R. 899
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February 27, 2014

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457 total users

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H.R. 3193
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February 25, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S ...

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67% 33%

350 total users

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H.R. 3865
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February 25, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S ...

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91% 9%

1030 total users

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H.R. 2274
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January 14, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S ...

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82% 18%

66 total users

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H.R. 3309
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December 4, 2013

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324 total users

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“The United States is the world leader in developing effective ...

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Join U.S. Chamber of Commerce in endorsing The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

13% 87%

430 total users

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H.R. 2728
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November 19, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S ...

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633 total users

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H.R. 2655
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November 13, 2013

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94% 6%

124 total users

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H.R. 982
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November 12, 2013

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94% 6%

70 total users

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H.R. 992
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October 29, 2013

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8% 92%

405 total users

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H.R. 2374
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October 28, 2013

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28% 72%

249 total users

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H.R. 3080
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September 17, 2013

Dear Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall ...

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24% 76%

379 total users

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H.R. 367
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August 1, 2013

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92% 8%

1788 total users

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S. 761
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June 4, 2013

Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell ...

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78 total users

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H.R. 5
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July 18, 2013

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111 total users

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H.R. 2667
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July 16, 2013

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986 total users

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H.R. 1256
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June 11, 2013

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16% 84%

25 total users

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H.R. 1038
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June 11, 2013

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35 total users

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H.R. 742
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June 11, 2013

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62% 37%

40 total users

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H.R. 634
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June 11, 2013

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53 total users

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H.R. 1062
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May 14, 2013

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84 total users

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H.R. 1406
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May 7, 2013

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29% 71%

285 total users

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H.R. 624
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April 17, 2013

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2004 total users

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H.R. 803
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74% 26%

202 total users

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U.S. Chamber’s Donohue Comments on Bipartisan Immigration Reform ...

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Detailed Legislative Agenda

H.R. 4414: The Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act

April 9, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, strongly supports H.R. 4414, “The Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act of 2014,” to preserve the ability of our country’s businesses to provide, and our citizens to obtain appropriate health care coverage as they conduct business and live overseas. This important bill protects the ability of American companies to provide and workers to obtain coverage abroad that have historically been offered and valued.

The PPACA was designed to improve access to coverage and health care services for people in the United States and to strengthen this nation’s health care system. Whether it will accomplish these goals remains to be seen. However, it was certainly not intended and must not be misconstrued to disadvantage American companies either operating or employing individuals in other countries or selling products abroad. It is important to ensure that this unintended consequence does not occur. This bill would protect the coverage and opportunities of American workers, American employers, and American products abroad. Congress must pass this bill to explicitly exempt expatriate plans from the myriad of PPACA requirements.

Applying these new mandates to international plans would not only be extremely difficult and complex from an operations standpoint due to the global nature of this type of coverage but would also be bad policy. They would place American businesses and expatriate American employees at a disadvantage in the global marketplace. Requiring American companies that operate around the globe and their foreign-based employees to buy more costly coverage would unfairly benefit foreign competitors and foreign employees. Such PPACA-compliant expatriate plans are not likely to be cost-competitive. In many instances, they may not provide global coverage and would in fact not comply with applicable local laws. Because of conflicting requirements between these new mandates and the laws of other countries, an employer may also have to purchase multiple policies with overlapping coverage or risk noncompliance with one or more nations’ laws. Congress must protect the ability of American companies and their expatriates to purchase and offer appropriate and valued plans that have long been part of how our country operates in the global marketplace.

U.S. jobs are at stake. If this legislation does not get enacted, American jobs associated with writing, servicing and administering these plans will be shipped overseas.

The Chamber continues to champion health care reform that builds on and reinforces the employer-sponsored system while improving access to affordable, quality coverage. The Chamber urges you and your colleagues to support H.R. 4414, and may consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-4414-support
H.Con.Res. 96: The Path to Prosperity Budget for FY15

April 8, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, appreciates House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s dedication to a more sound fiscal policy by advancing H. Con. Res. 96, “Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2015.”

Chairman Ryan proposes important steps to get America’s fiscal house in order. Consistent with Chamber policy, Chairman Ryan’s proposal would substantially reduce the deficit in the near-term without imposing tax increases, while stabilizing federal debt and steadily reducing government debt levels relative to GDP over the course of the next decade.

The budget proposal reaches balance in 2024 by reducing spending by $5.1 trillion over ten years and by assuming $175 billion in deficit reduction from a “fiscal dividend,” which incorporates longer-term economic benefits from deficit reduction. This aspect of the budget proposal is critical given myriad recent studies which have found that debt levels at or only slightly above current levels are associated with slower economic growth.

Revenue as a share of GDP would rise, as under current law from 17.5 percent in 2014 to 18.2 percent in 2024. As a result, spending and revenue levels would be nearly in line by 2024—with the difference made up for by a "fiscal dividend." Importantly, the budget puts debt on a clear downward path as a share of the economy, falling from about 73 percent of GDP today to 56 percent by 2024.

Another positive aspect of Chairman Ryan’s proposal is his willingness to address runaway entitlement spending, the root cause of future deficit spending. The proposals to address Medicare and Social Security spending represent encouraging steps forward. In addition, the budget proposal institutes cost-sharing reforms and raises the Medicare eligibility age starting in 2024.

H. Con. Res. 96 is a comprehensive budget document touching on a great many issues worthy of serious consideration, too many to further review categorically. Three additional issues merit special mention, however. They are the funding increases for national security, recognition of the need for comprehensive tax reform, and recognition of the need for Congress to reform the budget process. Of particular note, the budget calls for revenue-neutral tax reform with a goal of achieving a top individual rate of 25 percent and eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax by eliminating or reducing tax expenditures.

Over the long-term, the budget is a blueprint for shrinking the size of government and debt compared to current law. The Chamber urges the House to pass this budget and set the stage for our country to return to a path of long-term fiscal stability. The Chamber also urges the United States Senate to likewise meet its responsibility by passing a budget as an important step toward a more sensible fiscal policy. The Chamber looks forward to working with Congress on the vital reforms to entitlements and our tax code that are needed to get our fiscal house in order.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hconres-96-support
H.R. 3189: Water Rights Protection Act

March 12, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, strongly supports H.R. 3189, the “Water Rights Protection Act.” This bipartisan bill would protect water supplies and property rights from federal agency overreach by ensuring that the federal government cannot condition its approval of permits, leases, and other use agreements on the restriction or loss of applicable state water rights.

While eastern states typically apply riparian law to water rights questions, western states generally use the prior appropriation doctrine, which is “first in time, first in right.” State laws protecting waters for multiple uses in western states have been in existence for over a century. Water rights are obtained by diverting water for “beneficial use,” which can include domestic use, irrigation, manufacturing, mining, hydropower, municipal use, agriculture, and others depending on state law.

Recent federal actions have threatened this longstanding federal-state water rights relationship. Agencies increasingly require unnecessary and restrictive use conditions that must be met before land owners can receive or renew a permit. H.R. 3189 would prohibit the conditioning of any permit, lease, or other use agreement on the transfer of any water right to the United States by the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture.

H.R. 3189 would protect water uses while ensuring that state water laws are upheld by prohibiting federal agencies from imposing permit conditions that requires privately held water rights to be transferred to the federal government in exchange for a new or renewed permit to operate on federal land, and would ensure that the longstanding federal-state water relationship is maintained and not compromised by the placement of unreasonable permit conditions.

Additionally, the Chamber supports an amendment expected to be offered by Rep. Mullin that would clarify protections for Native American tribes’ water rights by 1) ensuring that that the federal government cannot make Native American tribes apply for or acquire water rights under state law for the federal government rather than acquiring the rights for themselves, 2) prohibiting the federal government from using permits, approvals, and other land management agreements to take the water rights of Native American tribes without just compensation, and 3) ensuring that nothing in the bill as passed limits or expands the reserved water rights or treaty rights of federally recognized Native American tribes.

The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 3189 and the amendment expected to be offered by Rep. Mullin. The Chamber may consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill in our How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3189-support
H.R. 2641: RAPID Act

March 6, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, strongly supports H.R. 2641, the “Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2013,” which would provide a streamlined process for developers, builders, and designers to obtain environmental permits and approvals for their projects in a timely and efficient manner, allowing jobs to be created and the economy to grow.

Every year that major projects are stalled or cancelled because of a dysfunctional permitting process and a system that allows limitless challenges by opponents of development, millions of jobs are not created. For example, 351 stalled energy projects reviewed in one 2010 study (Project No Project) had a total economic value of over $1 trillion and represented 1.9 American jobs not created. Project No Project showed that in the energy sector alone, one year of delay translates into millions of jobs not created.

The Responsibly And Professionally Invigorating Development Act of 2013 would improve the environmental review and permitting process by:

Coordinating responsibilities among multiple agencies involved in environmental reviews to ensure that “the trains run on time”;

Providing for concurrent reviews by agencies, rather than serial reviews;

Allowing state-level environmental reviews to be used where the state has done a competent job, thereby avoiding needless duplication of state work by federal reviewers;

Requiring that agencies involve themselves in the process early and comment early, avoiding eleventh-hour objections that can restart the entire review timetable;

Establishing a reasonable process for determining the scope of project alternatives, so that the environmental review does not devolve into an endless quest to evaluate infeasible alternatives;

Consolidating the process into a single Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and single

Environmental Assessment (EA) for a project, except as otherwise provided by law;

Imposing reasonable fixed deadlines for completion of an EIS or EA; and

Reducing the statute of limitations to challenge a final EIS or EA from six years to 180 days.

The RAPID Act is a practical, industry-wide approach that builds on successful provisions for environmental review management found in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Section 6002 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), and Section 1609 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The RAPID Act also embodies the procedural improvements to “cut red tape” as called for by the Obama administration, including, most recently, in his January 28, 2014, State of the Union Address.

The RAPID Act addresses the problem far too many shovel-ready projects face today: lengthy project delays from endless environmental reviews and challenges result in lost opportunities to create jobs and grow the economy. Every year of delay results in millions of jobs not created. The creation of millions of jobs is worth ensuring that our government works faster and more efficiently.

H.R. 2641, the RAPID Act, would be the strong action needed to speed up the permitting process and let important projects move forward, allowing millions of workers to get back to work. The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 2641 and may consider votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 2641 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2641-support
H.R. 3826: The Electricity Security and Affordability Act

March 4, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, strongly supports H.R. 3826, the “Electricity Security and Affordability Act.” This bill would provide critical protections against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) aggressive and economically damaging greenhouse gas rules applicable to new and existing power plants.

The Chamber continues to believe that the Clean Air Act is not the appropriate vehicle to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and is poorly designed for such a task. Nonetheless, EPA recently proposed what will be the first-ever greenhouse gas regulations on new power plants. The proposal is the latest edition in a string of already issued and expected rules targeted at many of America’s most affordable and reliable electric generation facilities. The impact these rules will have on power prices means that they could ultimately have negative implications extending to nearly every segment of the economy.

Specifically, EPA’s recently proposed rule would mandate limits on carbon emissions from newly built power plants by requiring that all new coal-fired power plants include carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) systems. However, despite Clean Air Act requirements that mandated technologies be “adequately demonstrated,” CCS is nowhere near commercial viability due to financial, technological, and other hurdles. Accordingly, EPA’s designation of CCS as the best system for compliance under this rule amounts to little more than a regulatory euphemism for what is plainly a ban on the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

H.R. 3826 would address this problem by prohibiting EPA from mandating CCS until it has been adequately employed on commercial-scale power plants. It would also prohibit expected EPA greenhouse gas regulations on existing power plants from taking effect until and unless the effective date of such regulations are explicitly authorized by Congress. These are common sense solutions that would serve to uphold the spirit and intent of the Clean Air Act and prevent disruption to the affordable and reliable electricity that provides the backbone of the American economy.

Congress must ensure that new greenhouse gas regulations promulgated by EPA are reasonable, achievable, and sustain coal’s continued vital role in America’s diverse energy portfolio. The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 3826 and may consider votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 3826 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional Office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3826-support
H.R. 899: The Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act

February 27, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, strongly supports H.R. 899, the “Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2013,” which would enhance accountability and promote smart regulation by having independent agencies comply with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) of 1995.

UMRA was designed to promote smart regulation by reducing unnecessary burdens of unfunded federal mandates on state, local, and tribal governments as well as the private sector by providing the public with more information on federal mandates in legislation and rulemaking. Importantly, UMRA requires federal agencies to undertake a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the anticipated costs and benefits of the federal mandate, and to consider alternatives to regulatory action if a rulemaking is expected to cost the economy over $100 million.

Unfortunately, independent federal agencies are currently exempted from UMRA and therefore not required to study the costs and economic impact of their rulemaking efforts. H.R. 899 would close this loophole, and also includes important provisions that would improve cost benefit analyses undertaken by these agencies.

The Chamber believes the consideration of H.R. 899 to be particularly timely given that a number of independent agencies are currently implementing the hundreds of rules required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). The Chamber remains concerned that much of the Dodd-Frank rulemaking process has lacked robust cost benefit analysis, and in some cases has lacked transparency. H.R. 899 would ensure that federal financial regulators are transparent in their rulemakings and responsive to the input of the general public as they go about implementing Dodd-Frank.

Additionally, the Chamber expects Representative Garrett of New Jersey to offer an amendment to clarify that the Federal Reserve’s regulatory function would be subject to UMRA under H.R. 899, while preserving the Fed’s independence in setting monetary policy. The Chamber strongly supports the Garret Amendment as we remain particularly concerned over some of the Federal Reserve’s increased rulemaking efforts pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act and their disregard for cost benefit analysis as a tool to identify and fix unintended consequences.

The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 899, the “Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act of 2013,” and believes it is an important step towards holding federal regulators accountable to the American public. The Chamber strongly urges you to support H.R. 899 and may consider votes on, or in relation to, this bill in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-899-support
H.R. 3193: Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2013

February 25, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, strongly supports H.R. 3193, the “Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2013.” The Chamber believes that it is important to reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to ensure it operates in a fair, transparent manner.

The Chamber firmly supports sound consumer protection regulation that deters and punishes financial fraud and predation and ensures that consumers receive clear, concise, and accurate disclosures about financial products. These important consumer protection goals can be achieved only if an agency’s organizational structure promotes, rather than frustrates, a consistent, effective approach to regulatory and enforcement issues. The CFPB fails these basic tests because it was designed without critical checks and balances.

As the Chamber and others have pointed out on many occasions, no other entity in the federal government has a single director who serves for a fixed term and receives its funding outside the appropriations process. Moreover, the regulatory and enforcement authority exercised by the Director of the CFPB is extraordinarily broad. It has the power to regulate a number of consumer products and services that are common sources of financing for Main Street businesses and to apply an unusually broad standard—the prevention of “unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices” in the market for consumer financial products.

H.R. 3193 would reshape the CFPB to incorporate the controls and oversight that apply to other federal regulatory agencies, which would in turn ensure far greater stability over the long-term for those who provide and rely on consumer credit. The Chamber may consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3193-support
H.R. 3865: Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014

February 25, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, supports H.R. 3865, the “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014.” This legislation would prohibit for one year the Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) from finalizing proposed 501(c)(4) regulations that could significantly restrict, and in some cases eliminate, nonprofit organizations’ ability to exercise their First Amendment rights and participate in public debate.

Last year, the IRS and the Treasury Department issued proposed rules that could make it impossible for 501(c)(4) nonprofit organizations to engage in many protected First Amendment activities. The rules would purport to regulate, and perhaps severely limit or even eliminate, the ability of 501(c)(4) organizations to engage in “candidate-related political activity”—an expansive new category that would capture enormous amounts of constitutionally protected speech. The agencies have threatened that they may later extend these same kinds of rules to other organizations, including labor unions and trade associations.

Among other things, the rule could potentially ban all speech by tax-exempt groups that refers to a candidate for office in any context for 30 days prior to any primary election and 60 days prior to any general election. Any issue ad that references an incumbent would fall under the definition, even when such ads unquestionably are not intended to influence the incumbent’s reelection. Indeed, even simple informational statements that clearly have nothing to do with partisan politics—e.g., “Senator X has introduced a new piece of legislation”—would fall under the broad definition of banned speech during the blackout period. The ban would also encompass even an organization’s internal communications to its own members (as long as its membership exceeds 500 individuals). Other forms of speech that would be subject to restriction include: nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts, candidate forums, the distribution of legislative scorecards, and advocacy for the appointment or confirmation of a government executive or judge.

This dramatic intrusion upon the First Amendment rights of tax-exempt organizations is entirely unprecedented and is far broader than the range of speech that has been regulated by the FEC or any act of Congress. The proposal departs from over a century of settled application of the tax code, and it goes well beyond the authority that Congress has delegated to the IRS or the Treasury Department. Simply put, the IRS has no legal authority, no experience, and no expertise in the area of regulating political speech.

Particularly in light of the IRS’s recent selective targeting of conservative-leaning civic organizations for disparate treatment under the tax code—and a long history of concern related to partisan abuse at the agency (ranging from President Nixon ordering audits of his political adversaries to President Lyndon Johnson using the IRS to investigate anti-war groups)—the IRS is obviously ill-suited to serve as a regulator or censor of political speech.

Ultimately, the protections of the First Amendment are far too precious to be entrusted to an Executive Branch agency that is subject to control by the Secretary of the Treasury, the President, and their political appointees, and that has a history of misuse for political purposes. The taxing power of the United States of America should not be used to police the political expression of civic organizations. And it certainly should not be used to implement sweeping restrictions on core First Amendment speech.

The Chamber supports H.R. 3865, the “Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014.” The Chamber urges you to vote in favor of the bill and may include votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 3865 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3865-support
H.R. 2274: Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2013

January 14, 2014

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, supports H.R. 2274, the “Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act.” This bill would enhance the capital formation needed to build new businesses, expand existing businesses, and create jobs.

Companies small and large, particularly new businesses, need a mix of capital sources to meet short-term and long-term growth needs. This diversity of capital has provided the liquidity needed for different sized firms to be able to have the opportunity to achieve success. Congress recognized these facts and the need to increase diverse portals of capital access in passing the bi-partisan Jumpstart Our Businesses Startups Act (“JOBS Act”).

H.R. 2274 would permit mergers and acquisitions (M&A) brokers, to the extent that these brokers limit their activities to transactions involving the transfer of ownership or the assets of an “eligible privately held company,” to electronically register with the SEC and not be subject to all the requirements imposed on a full service broker under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. While H.R. 2274 would simplify the registration of these brokers, it also contains a number of safeguards to prevent abuses and circumscribes the activities of an M&A broker. H.R. 2274 would not exempt M&A brokers from the existing prohibitions designed to block securities law violators, criminals, and other bad actors from entering the business. It also would require disclosure of relevant information to clients and to the owner of an eligible privately held company who is offered a stock for stock transfer.

H.R. 2274 is a common sense reform that should help entrepreneurs avail themselves of expert assistance in selling their business and realizing the full value of their enterprise, thereby providing further incentives for aspiring entrepreneurs to push forward with their ideas. By facilitating M&A activity, it would provide another source of capital for smaller companies.

The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 2274, the Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act, and believes it is an important step forward towards promoting efficient capital markets conducive to long-term economic growth and job creation. The Chamber strongly urges you to support H.R. 2274 and may consider votes on, or in relation to, this issue in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2274-support
H.R. 3309: The Innovation Act

December 4, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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 you to continue to advance H.R. 3309, the “Innovation Act,” through the legislative process.

The Chamber strongly supports the protection of legitimate intellectual property rights. The patent system fosters innovations and economic growth across a wide variety of industries. The ability for legitimate patent holders to defend their intellectual property is vital to keeping U.S. businesses strong and competitive—both domestically and globally.

The Chamber is also acutely aware of the problems associated with excessive and abusive patent litigation. In too many instances, elements of the plaintiffs’ bar leverage the potentially astronomical cost of patent litigation to force abusive and coercive settlements. The Chamber’s particular concern is driven by the increasing prevalence of third party litigation financing to fund frivolous and abusive patent cases, the increased use of procedural maneuvers designed to further escalate the cost of litigation and force settlements, and the plaintiffs’ bar’s use of patent demand letters to extract settlements from innocent users and sellers of a product. H.R. 3309 would address these very real patent litigation problems and the Chamber looks forward to working with the House and Senate to further refine the solutions to these specific concerns as the bill continues to move through the legislative process.

The Chamber is cognizant of the various concerns raised by elements of the business community with H.R. 3309. Before any patent litigation reform legislation is ultimately enacted into law, these concerns must be addressed. We believe that the best way to accomplish this goal is for the House to advance legislation through regular order and work with the Senate to alleviate any remaining concerns with the bill.

The Chamber looks forward to working with the House, Senate, and other interested stakeholders as H.R. 3309 moves through the legislative process in order to ensure that demonstrable patent litigation abuses are addressed appropriately, while preserving America’s strong tradition of protecting intellectual property rights.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3309-support
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

“The United States is the world leader in developing effective policy to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunity in the workplace in society as a whole. The Chamber is proud of the role that it has played in helping to formulate this policy by engaging in cooperative efforts with the disability community. Consistent with these efforts, the Chamber believes that ratification of the Convention will not just lead to greater access and opportunity for individuals with disabilities throughout the world, but will also be beneficial to business.”

http://www.foreign....treaty-ratification

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-x-142-support
H.R. 2728: Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act

November 19, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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, strongly supports H.R. 2728, the “Protecting States' Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act.”

The U.S. is in the midst of an energy renaissance that is transforming our economy, creating millions of jobs, and increasing our energy security. Through American ingenuity and innovation, domestic production is increasing and energy imports are declining. Last week the Department of Energy reported that in October, the U.S. produced more crude oil domestically than it imported for the first time in nearly 20 years.

This tremendous abundance of energy resources is also spawning a rebirth of U.S. manufacturing. Dozens of shuttered steel and petrochemical facilities have reopened to take advantage of abundant and economical energy resources. A recent report sponsored by the Institute for 21st Century Energy, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, found that this energy revolution and manufacturing rebirth supported more than 2.1 million jobs, which is expected to grow to 3.9 million jobs by 2025. Additionally, the report found that more than $1.6 trillion dollars in government revenue will be generated by these activities through 2025.

As the necessary infrastructure is built out to bring energy supplies to market, the report projects that energy-intensive manufacturers could invest nearly $120 million to increase output, which in turn is expected to generate nearly $180 billion in government revenue, support nearly 376,000 new jobs, and generate $180 billion in additional net trade. Moreover, through cheaper energy, fuel, and goods, this revolution has increased the disposable income of the average American family by $1,200, which is expected to grow to over $3,500 in 2025.

However, the federal government is taking steps that can threaten all of these projected benefits. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has twice proposed new regulation of hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands. However, in neither case has BLM justified additional regulation. State regulatory authorities have maintained primacy in the regulation of oil and natural gas exploration and production within each respective state’s borders, including, to a large extent, federal lands.



State and tribal regulators not only possess the regulatory mandate from their respective state and tribal laws, but they have also developed the expertise necessary to understand the specific geology, hydrology, and other physical nuances of the lands in their respective states and tribal jurisdictions. As such, the nation has benefited from the efficient extraction of oil and natural gas from producing states and tribal lands while also protecting human health and the environment. H.R. 2728 would ensure BLM defers to states and tribal nations with existing regulatory regimes, while allowing a federal backstop for those lacking such regulations.

While energy producers must comply with applicable state regulations when operating on federal lands, they must also navigate the moribund federal permitting process. As such, oil and natural gas exploration and production on federal lands has grown increasingly inefficient, preventing Americans from realizing job creation, economic growth, and increased energy security that accompany additional domestic production. The additional time required by the federal permitting process, in addition to existing regulatory requirements, increase the cost of production and makes operations on federal lands less economical than on state and private lands.

In March 2013, the Congressional Research Service released an analysis concluding that oil production on federal lands had decreased 4 percent between 2007 and 2012, while production on state and private lands had increased more than 35 percent. Similarly, natural gas production on federal lands decreased 23 percent while production on state and private lands increased more than 40 percent. Over this five-year span, oil production on federal lands dropped from 33 percent of the nation’s total production to 26 percent, while natural gas production on federal lands dropped from 28 percent of the nation’s total to 18 percent. Clearly, the existing federal regulatory process is much less efficient than the respective state processes.

While the U.S. is on the path towards tremendous manufacturing growth fueled by shale energy development, this future is not predestined, and unnecessary federal regulation threatens this future. BLM’s proposed rule would alter the balance of regulatory authority in a manner that would further disincentivize businesses from investing in the development of oil and natural gas on federal and tribal lands, while not identifying or addressing any specific issue that warrants the regulation. A July 2013 study sponsored by the Western Energy Alliance found that BLM’s proposed hydraulic fracturing rule would create nearly $350 million in annual compliance costs, which corresponds to approximately $100,000 per well.

In proposing its rule, BLM failed to identify any specific shortcomings of the existing framework of state regulation and in many cases merely duplicates state requirements. H.R. 2728 would prevent BLM’s arbitrary decision to further regulate hydraulic fracturing and make oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy production on federal lands even less economical than it already is. By clearly designating the primacy of state hydraulic fracturing regulations and preventing BLM from adding an unnecessary layer of federal regulation, this legislation would help maintain the economic benefits of America’s shale revolution and preserve its nascent manufacturing renaissance.

Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently conducting an unprecedented, multi-year study into hydraulic fracturing and its impact on drinking water resources titled “Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources.” While thorough and fair environmental analysis could add value to the regulatory process, it must be done with the highest levels of transparency and scientific standards. H.R.

2728 would ensure that any findings from EPA’s study are based upon, among other things, sound science, properly peer-reviewed work, and well-defined risk assessments.

The science and data that inform the results of the study must be of the highest caliber and instill confidence in the final work product. In order to achieve these standards, H.R. 2728 would:

 Codify EPA’s designation of the final report as a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment (HISA);

 Require the EPA Administrator to ensure that peer review of the report is conducted in compliance with the guidelines that govern HISAs, including EPA’s Peer Review Handbook, EPA’s Scientific Integrity Policy, and OMB’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review;

 Mandate that the EPA Administrator adhere to the guidelines for disseminating influential scientific information; and

 Require that the identification of any possible impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources be accompanied by objective estimates of the probability, uncertainty, and consequence of each identified impact, factoring in the risk management practices of states and industry.

Under OMB guidelines, a scientific assessment is considered “highly influential” if its “dissemination could have a potential impact of more than $500 million in any one year on either the public or private sector or that the dissemination would be novel, controversial, or precedent- setting, or has significant interagency interest.” The EPA hydraulic fracturing study clearly would meet these qualitative criteria because no federal study like it exists, the wider implications of the report likely will generate controversy, it will help inform policy in this country and possibly around the world, and it is of significant interest to other Federal agencies.

The EPA study would also unquestionably meet OMB’s quantitative criteria for a HISA designation. Oil and natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing have had an extraordinarily positive impact on the U.S. economy. H.R. 2728 would assure the public that the study is sufficiently peer-reviewed, based upon quality scientific and technical data, and properly disseminated, and that any potential impacts identified in the study results would be put in the appropriate context in terms of risk assessment.

The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 2728, which would prevent federal regulatory over- reach from derailing the onset of a U.S. manufacturing renaissance. The Chamber may include votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 2728 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2728-support
H.R. 2655: Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2013

November 13, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, supports H.R. 2655, the “Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act of 2013,” or “LARA,” which would deter the filing of frivolous lawsuits and improve attorney accountability by amending Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Frivolous lawsuits are plaguing the U.S. legal system and damaging the U.S. economy. The lack of attorney accountability in the current system rewards the gamesmanship of unscrupulous attorneys who are able to file baseless claims without fear of recourse. Without true consequences being imposed on parties who make meritless legal claims, innocent businesses will continue to be threatened with the reality that paying off baseless claims is often cheaper than litigation.

H.R. 2655 would help fix this perverse dynamic by strengthening Rule 11’s enforcement provisions. Specifically, LARA would make sanctions for violations of Rule 11 mandatory and eliminate the rule’s current 21-day “safe harbor” provision. This bill would also replace current provisions discouraging judges from making lawsuit abuse victims whole with provisions fully authorizing judges to order parties who pursue frivolous claims to pay the other sides’ legal fees and costs.

The Chamber supports H.R. 2655 and opposes weakening amendments. The Chamber may include votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 2655 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter to POPVOX provided by Congressional office.O

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2655-support
H.R. 982: Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013

November 12, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, supports H.R. 982, the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act of 2013,” which would shine much needed light on asbestos personal injury settlement trust funds.

The Chamber believes that Congress must act to ensure that trust funds established to resolve asbestos claims are free from waste, fraud, and abuse. Section 524(g) of the federal bankruptcy code authorizes bankrupt companies to establish trusts to receive and pay asbestos-related claims. When Congress enacted 524(g), it intended to guarantee all present and future asbestos claimants equal access to recompense for their injuries. However, it appears that Congress’s intent is being frustrated by the filing of inconsistent and fraudulent claims that are drawing down the trusts’ funds and endangering future victims’ recoveries.

A recent Wall Street Journal report detailed thousands of questionable claims filed against a single trust. The House Judiciary Committee’s report on the FACT Act chronicles a number of additional cases in which trust claims were manipulated or at variance with related court claims. This is unfortunate but unsurprising. Independent experts at both the Government Accountability Office and RAND Corporation have concluded that the trusts are susceptible to fraud and abuse.

The FACT Act’s simple reporting and disclosure requirements would discourage fraud on the asbestos trusts, which collectively hold over $36 billion in assets for the benefit of current and future asbestos claimants, and ensure they are viable sources of compensation for legitimate asbestos victims. The FACT Act would also ensure that the thousands of small, medium, and large businesses currently embroiled in asbestos litigation are not unfairly victimized by plaintiffs’ attorneys who, it appears, exploit the trusts’ lack of transparency to prevent important information from entering court cases.

The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 982, the “Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency Act of 2013.” The Chamber urges you to vote in favor of the FACT Act and may include votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 982 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-982-support
H.R. 992: Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act

October 29, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, strongly supports H.R. 992, the “Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act,” which would serve to promote vibrant and efficient capital markets by modifying section 716 of the Dodd-Frank Act, a provision that undermines the Act’s central policy objective of mitigating systemic risk.

When section 716—often referred to as the swaps push-out provision—was enacted, its proponents described it as “quarantining highly risky swaps activity.” The provision attempts to accomplish this by requiring insured depository institutions to spin-off certain derivatives activities (e.g., commodity derivatives that agricultural market participants use to reduce risk) into separately capitalized affiliates of an insured depository institution.

However, contrary to its objectives, section 716 would increase risk for derivatives market participants, while at the same time driving up costs for end users. It would do so by requiring them to transact with multiple entities within the same banking organization, which would create new risks for end users because it would eliminate their ability to net multiple contracts into a single obligation. Additionally, it would add cost and complexity by requiring market participants to put in place multiple agreements and make multiple settlements on their derivatives transactions.

Such outcomes would disrupt aspects of the derivatives market that work well and that played no role in the financial crisis. Indeed, end users have implemented these hedging practices to reduce risk to themselves, which in turn reduces overall market risk.

These are among the reasons international regulators have refrained from introducing or implementing similar provisions in their own regulatory regimes. Now, more than two and a half years since Dodd-Frank was enacted, no government has followed America’s lead in implementing a provision like section 716. Consequently, while serving no useful function, the provision threatens to undermine the competitiveness of U.S. capital markets.

The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 992 and looks forward to working with the Congress to ensure the U.S. maintains its position as the world leader in fair, efficient, and innovative capital markets. The Chamber may consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill in our How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-992-support
H.R. 2374: Retail Investor Protection Act

October 28, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, strongly supports H.R. 2374, the “Retail Investor Protection Act.” The Chamber believes that ensuring retail investors have continued access to their choice of financial products and services that best meet their needs will help meet investment objectives, secure retirement security, and bolster long-term economic growth.

If enacted, the Retail Investor Protection Act would require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) complete a rulemaking on fiduciary standards for broker dealers before the Department of Labor (“DOL”) finalizes its rule redefining a fiduciary under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, as the two agencies have shown to work at cross-purposes on their fiduciary initiatives. Due to the increasing overlap between the DOL and SEC in the area of retirement plans and the related nature of each agency’s fiduciary initiative, the Chamber believes that the two agencies should coordinate and work in a systematic manner, allowing the SEC to complete its rules first to avoid investor confusion, regulatory conflict, and one rule being usurped by the other.

H.R. 2374 would also require that before the SEC promulgates new rules expanding the fiduciary standard in the retail investor context, it must first (1) identify any issues with the current fiduciary structure; and (2) identify whether uniform fiduciary standards for broker dealers and investment advisors would have any adverse impact, resulting in reduced products and services for retail investors. These are all common sense measures that would ensure the appropriate balance in investor protection while mitigating potentially harmful consequences.

The Chamber also opposes an amendment expected to be offered by Rep. George Miller and Rep. John Conyers, which would completely undermine the intent of a provision in H.R. 2374 by giving DOL free reign to promulgate rules without prioritization and consideration of the SEC’s fiduciary initiative. Moreover, the Miller-Conyers Amendment would also deprive owners, directors, and shareholders of the ability to manage a business by authorizing the DOL to set compensation for investment advisors and financial services providers, thus shifting some securities oversight away from the SEC and to the DOL.

The Chamber strongly supports the Retail Investor Protection Act and opposes the Miller-Conyers Amendment. The Chamber may consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill and the Miller-Conyers Amendment in our How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2374-support
H.R. 3080: Water Resources Development Act of 2013

September 17, 2013

Dear Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall:

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, applauds the introduction of H.R. 3080, the “Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013,” which would ensure the viability of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works programs including navigation, flood risk management, recreation, and infrastructure and environmental stewardship. This bill would be an important step toward providing critical economic benefits to the nation, and the Chamber encourages the Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure to vote in favor of this legislation.

H.R. 3080 would address the Marine Transportation System (MTS), a critical part of the nation’s economic infrastructure that enables commercial navigation and consists of ports, coastal and inland waterways, the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. The MTS is the hidden backbone of our nation’s freight network. Each year this system moves more than 553 million tons of freight valued at $178 billion according to the National Waterways Foundation.

The business community depends on the MTS to move goods to international markets. Markets outside the United States represent 73 percent of the world’s purchasing power, 87 percent of its economic growth, and 95 percent of its consumers. The inland waterways system is the primary artery for more than half of the nation’s grain and oilseed exports, for about 20 percent of the coal for electricity generation plants, and for about 22 percent of the domestic petroleum and petroleum products.

The Chamber is pleased that H.R. 3080, as introduced, is a bipartisan measure representing compromise among the leaders of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. H.R. 3080 would address the Chamber’s priorities outlined in the “U.S. Chamber of Commerce Policy Statement on Marine Transportation.” Among those priorities are:

􏰀 Increasing investment in the MTS;

􏰀 Establishing priorities for maintenance, modernization, and expansion;

􏰀 Supporting pilot projects that promote usage of innovative financing tools; and

􏰀 Creating the conditions for successful Army Corps project delivery including

streamlining and strengthening the feasibility study and permitting process.

As H.R. 3080 progresses through the legislative process, the Chamber respectfully urges Members to address the following issues:

􏰀 Ensure that any revenues derived from the users of the MTS be fully and solely utilized for their intended purposes. Annual revenue deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund should be made available to the Army Corps for critical harbor and channel maintenance, as well as dredging, each budget and appropriations cycle. The added costs to traded products due to shallow harbors were $7 billion in 2010 and are projected to reach $14 billion by 2040 according to The American Society of Civil Engineers.

􏰀 Remove the requirement that the Olmsted Lock and Dam Project be funded using Inland Waterways Trust Fund revenues in order to free up resources for other capital construction efforts along the inland waterways system.

􏰀 Incorporate recommendations made by the Inland Waterway Users Board that provide predictable, reliable, and sustainable revenues to the Inland Waterways Trust Fund. 57 percent of the 238 locks on the inland waterways system are over 50 years of age, well beyond their design life, with 34 locks older than 80 years according to the National Waterways Foundation. It is critical to address the gap between needs and resources on the inland waterways.

The introduction and markup of H.R. 3080 is a positive development and the Chamber looks forward to continuing to work with stakeholders groups and Committee Members on this important issue. The Chamber urges Members to pass this bill, which would provide critical economic benefits to the nation.

http://transportati...20of%20Commerce.pdf

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3080-support
The Bipartisan Proposal to Reopen the Government and Prevent Default

October 16, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS:

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 Congress to immediately pass legislation to reopen the federal government and to avoid tarnishing the nation’s credit by defaulting on our national debt.

While important policy issues are at stake in the ongoing debate about federal spending, debts, deficits and entitlements, the full faith and credit of the United States should not be subjected to further brinksmanship. The consequences to the U.S. economy and the American business community of a default are too extreme to be allowed to occur.

Moreover, default will not contribute to an environment which allows Congress to rein in spending. Groups calling for default are clearly less interested in the Main Street concerns of businesses large and small; these groups overlook the point that a default would result in creditors demanding a premium on U.S. debt, which would greatly exacerbate long-term debt, deficit and spending issues. We call on the House, Senate, and Administration to avert this crisis.

The Chamber fully recognizes the importance of restraining federal spending, correcting the unsustainable growth path of entitlement spending, reducing federal budget deficits, containing the growth of federal debt, and enacting comprehensive tax reform. However, the U.S. economy continues to grow only modestly, reinforcing the need for the federal government to resume its normal operations and to avoid the uncertainty and panic that would result from a historically unprecedented debt default.

We face a challenging set of issues that will require sustained debate over many months. We therefore urge the Congress to act promptly to pass a Continuing Resolution to fund the government and to raise the debt ceiling, and then to return to work on these other vital issues.

In order to prevent another self-made fiscal crisis from occurring in the near future, the Administration and Congress must get serious about addressing these long-term issues, through a comprehensive deal that includes tax and entitlement reform. Regardless, the House and Senate must pass legislation in the coming hours to reopen the federal government and avoid default. The Chamber will include votes on, or in relation to, such legislation in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

(This bill is closed to comments.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-x-139-support
H.R. 527: Helium Stewardship Act of 20213

September 25, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, supports the Hastings amendment to the Senate- passed version of H.R. 527, which is expected to be considered under suspension of the rules today.

Without Congressional action, the federal facility that provides approximately 50 percent of domestic supplies of helium would no longer be authorized to sell helium to private entities.

A significant number of jobs, economic output, and exports from the United States depend on a continuous supply of helium. Helium is also critical to products and systems that support national defense and homeland security, and it is needed to operate the thousands of MRI devices in the U.S.

The Chamber applauds the House and Senate for working to avert a shortage of helium,

and may consider including votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 527 in our How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

(This bill was enacted October 2, 2013.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-527-support
H.J.Res. 59: Original 2014 CR

September 18, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce fully recognizes the importance of restraining federal spending, both discretionary spending and mandatory spending, to reduce federal budget deficits, contain the growth of federal debt, and thereby re-establish fiscal discipline in the near-term and for the long haul. However, as the Department of Labor’s recent lackluster jobs report reminds us, the U.S. economy continues to underperform, reinforcing the need for the federal government to preserve its normal operations pending a successful outcome of broader budgetary reforms. 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. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has indicated the Treasury may exhaust its borrowing capacity and cash management tools as early as mid-October.

The nation faces many serious fiscal issues on which the Congress and the President have thus far yet to reach agreement. These issues include correcting the unaffordable path of entitlement spending to stabilize federal finances and the need for fundamental tax reform to strengthen the American economy. These issues also include the need to correct the many grave deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act. The Chamber believes each of these and related issues demand immediate attention. The Chamber also asks the Congress to work to clear the individual spending bills so that the improvements and changes reflected in this year’s work may be signed into law.

It is readily apparent none of these important issues are ripe for resolution. We therefore urge the House to act promptly to pass a Continuing Resolution to fund the government and to raise the debt ceiling, and then to return to work on these other vital issues.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

(This bill represents legislative language that has been superseded.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hjres-59-support
H.R. 367: The REINS Act

August 1, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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, strongly supports H.R. 367, the “Regulations From the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act.”

H.R. 367 is an effective regulatory reform bill that would improve Congressional oversight, increase the quality of agency rulemakings, and better ensure that all branches of the Federal government are accountable. This is particularly important given the increasing number of the costliest rules.

According to the 2012 “Regulatory Plan and the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions,” which lists federal regulatory actions at various stages of implementation, there were 224 rules with an economic impact of $100 million or more in the pipeline.1 That represents a 76 percent increase over the last ten years; there were 124 such rules in 2003.2

The REINS Act would create desperately needed checks and balances on agency power, restoring balance to our system of government by constraining the improvident delegation of Congressional authority and by enforcing accountability on agencies and Congress alike. The REINS Act would require both houses of Congress to affirmatively approve, and the president to sign, any new “major rule” (i.e., a rule with a projected impact to the economy of $100 million or more) before it could become effective.

The recent health care and financial regulatory reform laws and the ongoing “legislation by regulation” at the Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies ensure that there will be a large number of new major regulations proposed and promulgated over the next several years. These regulations will likely touch every sector of the economy and impair, dampen, and distort job creation, economic growth and investment. Passage of the REINS Act would mitigate these adverse effects by ensuring that agencies regulate in a more transparent, cost-effective, and rational manner, and that Congress retains ultimate control and accountability for the implementation of the laws it writes, as the Constitution provides.

The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 367. The Chamber may consider including votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 367 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-367-support
S. 761: Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013

June 4, 2013

Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell:

We the undersigned, representing hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, write to request that The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (S. 761) be considered by the full Senate as soon as possible.

This sensible, bi-partisan legislation enjoys broad support in the business community. The bill’s sponsors have worked with industry every step of the way in crafting and vetting this legislation. S. 761 places no new mandates on U.S. businesses or consumers. All new authorizations are fully offset.

Energy costs money and S. 761 will save consumers both. Provisions in this legislation will promote energy savings in commercial buildings and industrial facilities, which together consume nearly 50% of the nation’s primary energy.

The bill will also reduce energy costs within the federal government, our nation’s largest energy consumer, saving the taxpayers money.

Reducing barriers to investment in existing energy efficiency technologies, as S. 761 does, boosts the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and creates jobs in the manufacturing, contracting, installation, distribution, and service sectors.

And quite simply, greater use of technologies that reduce energy consumption improves our country’s energy security.

For these reasons, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources roundly endorsed the legislation with a strong bipartisan vote. Energy efficiency is also viewed favorably in the House.

The American people are seeking cooperation from their elected officials and with the Senate’s leadership S. 761 can serve as a model of how Congress can still bridge the partisan divide to deliver results.

As supporters of this legislation, we ask that S. 761 be brought to the Senate floor as soon as possible for a vote.

http://www.portman....3-82d7-0e19ee431dbe

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-s-761-support
H.R. 5: The Student Success Act

July 18, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, has strong concerns that H.R. 5, the “Student Success Act,” would reduce school-level accountability, would not provide consequences for low-performing schools, and would not require states to adopt college- and career-ready standards and assessments. We urge you to oppose this legislation.

The Chamber believes strong accountability for all schools and all students is of utmost importance, and while H.R. 5 would require school performance transparency, it would not require true accountability. The Chamber believes schools must be held accountable for student achievement with clear and ambitious targets for improvement from year to year. States must not only disclose disaggregated student achievement data, but also hold schools accountable for improving student learning and closing student achievement gaps in exchange for federal funding.

With all schools and all students incorporated into an accountability system, schools that continually fail to meet the needs of students should be held responsible for taking steps toward improving student achievement in order to continue receiving federal support. The “Student Success Act,” however, would allow low-performing schools to continue receiving Title I funding without making changes to improve student outcomes.

Finally, schools must be accountable for graduating students with the skills necessary to go to college or enter the workplace. The Chamber believes that in order to close the achievement gap, states must adopt rigorous, college- and career-ready content standards and assessments. However, H.R. 5 lacks such a requirement. Without explicitly including that the standards must be “college- and career-ready,” the legislation could inadvertently result in the lowering of expectations for school and student achievement, as well as impede state-led efforts already underway.

While the Chamber opposes H.R. 5, we strongly believe that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) needs to be reauthorized as soon as possible. The U.S. Department of Education’s process of reauthorizing ESEA by waivers is not sustainable over the long term, and many of the current waivers contain the same flaws that have resulted in our opposition to this legislation.



Although the Chamber has strong concerns with H.R. 5, the legislation makes improvements over current law in several key areas. For example, the Chamber supports allowing Title I dollars to “follow the child,” particularly when students are stuck in consistently low-performing schools. Therefore, the Chamber is pleased to see that not only would H.R. 5 reserve a portion of Title I funds for public school choice, but it would also add the Local Academic Flexible Grants and include the business community in initiatives to improve student achievement. Additionally, the Chamber supports increased data and transparency on school performance, annual assessments in reading and math, grade-span assessments in science, teacher and principle evaluations, and state and local report cards to parents.

The Chamber opposes the “Student Success Act.” The Chamber may consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-5-oppose
H.R. 2667: Authority for Mandate Delay Act

July 16, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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 you to support H.R. 2667, the “Authority for Mandate Delay Act,” which would delay enforcement of the employer mandate provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) until 2015.

A legislative delay of the employer mandate would ensure that America’s job creators have an additional year to prepare for complying with the mandate. Nonetheless, many other troubling requirements of the PPACA remain; the Chamber looks forward to working with Members to repeal, delay, or mitigate the harmful impacts of them.

In light of the Administration’s recent decision to delay the enforcement of the employer mandate penalties and reporting requirements, the Chamber is pleased to see the House take legislative action to delay this “shared responsibility” provision in the health care law. Originally set to take effect in January 2014, the PPACA requires businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees to offer prescribed health benefits to their employees (and their dependants) or pay steep penalties. As a result, businesses with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees are hesitant to grow their businesses or hire what would amount to the fiftieth employee. Additionally, “full-time” is defined in the law as 30 hours per week, instead of the traditional 40 hours per week. This new definition is forcing businesses to restructure their workforce and reduce their employees’ hours to avoid costs that could potentially bankrupt their companies.

The employer mandate requirement is already having a negative effect on employment and will continue to discourage small businesses from growing if businesses do not have the proper amount of time to implement the mandate and the requisite guidance from the Administration and agencies to comply. According to the Chamber’s most recent Small Business Survey, one-half of small businesses impacted by the mandate say that they will either cut hours of full-time employees or replace them with part-time workers to avoid the mandate. Delaying the employer mandate would protect the ability of businesses to create and maintain jobs by lessening the fear and uncertainty currently plaguing their attempts to prepare for the employer mandate’s harmful impact.

During this time of economic instability, it is crucial that an atmosphere where employers can focus on their role in revitalizing the economy be provided. Delaying enforcement of the employer mandate would allow businesses to focus on strengthening their businesses, hiring more workers, and revitalizing the economy. The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 2667, and may consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2667-support
H.R. 1256: Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act

June 11, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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, strongly supports H.R. 634, H.R. 742, H.R. 1038, and H.R. 1256, bills that would provide critical relief for Main Street companies that rely on derivatives to manage their business risk, and ensure regulation reflects the global nature of the derivatives market.

H.R. 634, the “Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act of 2013,” would create an exemption for corporate “end users” that manage their business risk with derivatives. Despite the clear intent of Congress to shield end users from unnecessary cash collateral requirements, the Prudential Banking Regulators believe they do not have the flexibility under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) to provide a regulatory exemption. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has noted this problem on a number of occasions and has supported a legislative fix, and an identical bill passed the House in 2012 by an overwhelming bipartisan margin – 370-24. Main Street companies urgently need legislative relief from cash draining government-imposed margin requirements, so they are not forced to choose between hedging risk and growing their businesses.

H.R. 742, the “Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act of 2013,” would eliminate an unworkable indemnification requirement in Dodd-Frank that would lead to a balkanized system for storing and accessing swaps data. Some foreign jurisdictions have laws or regulations that make indemnification impossible, and therefore prevent foreign regulators from accessing swaps information from U.S.-registered swap data repositories. This bill would repeal the indemnification requirement, but make clear that regulators have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the information.

H.R. 1038, the “Public Power Risk Management Act of 2013,” would help ensure that public utilities’ ability to hedge their risk and minimize customer costs would not be hindered by Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulation. CFTC’s “swap dealer” definition punishes counterparties who transact with “special entities” like public utilities by increasing their compliance burden, making it more difficult and more expensive for these special entities to find willing partners in the market.

H.R. 1256, the “Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act,” would require CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct a joint rulemaking to define the territorial reach of U.S. derivatives regulation, while carefully considering the costs and benefits of regulating transactions between non-U.S. counterparties. CFTC has proposed guidance, rather than a notice and comment period for proposed rulemaking, while SEC has more faithfully followed the regulatory process. The lack of interagency coordination on even this basic procedural point is problematic, but more concerning is CFTC’s substantive approach which could increase end user costs by imposing new burdens on their dealer counterparties that operate globally.

These bills would provide clarity and certainty for companies that use derivatives to hedge their business risk efficiently, allowing them to focus on growing their business and creating jobs. The Chamber supports H.R. 634, H.R. 742, H.R. 1038, and H.R. 1256. We may consider including votes on, or in relation to, these bills in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-1256-support
H.R. 1038: Public Power Risk Management Act of 2013

June 11, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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, strongly supports H.R. 634, H.R. 742, H.R. 1038, and H.R. 1256, bills that would provide critical relief for Main Street companies that rely on derivatives to manage their business risk, and ensure regulation reflects the global nature of the derivatives market.

H.R. 634, the “Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act of 2013,” would create an exemption for corporate “end users” that manage their business risk with derivatives. Despite the clear intent of Congress to shield end users from unnecessary cash collateral requirements, the Prudential Banking Regulators believe they do not have the flexibility under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) to provide a regulatory exemption. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has noted this problem on a number of occasions and has supported a legislative fix, and an identical bill passed the House in 2012 by an overwhelming bipartisan margin – 370-24. Main Street companies urgently need legislative relief from cash draining government-imposed margin requirements, so they are not forced to choose between hedging risk and growing their businesses.

H.R. 742, the “Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act of 2013,” would eliminate an unworkable indemnification requirement in Dodd-Frank that would lead to a balkanized system for storing and accessing swaps data. Some foreign jurisdictions have laws or regulations that make indemnification impossible, and therefore prevent foreign regulators from accessing swaps information from U.S.-registered swap data repositories. This bill would repeal the indemnification requirement, but make clear that regulators have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the information.

H.R. 1038, the “Public Power Risk Management Act of 2013,” would help ensure that public utilities’ ability to hedge their risk and minimize customer costs would not be hindered by Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulation. CFTC’s “swap dealer” definition punishes counterparties who transact with “special entities” like public utilities by increasing their compliance burden, making it more difficult and more expensive for these special entities to find willing partners in the market.

H.R. 1256, the “Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act,” would require CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct a joint rulemaking to define the territorial reach of U.S. derivatives regulation, while carefully considering the costs and benefits of regulating transactions between non-U.S. counterparties. CFTC has proposed guidance, rather than a notice and comment period for proposed rulemaking, while SEC has more faithfully followed the regulatory process. The lack of interagency coordination on even this basic procedural point is problematic, but more concerning is CFTC’s substantive approach which could increase end user costs by imposing new burdens on their dealer counterparties that operate globally.

These bills would provide clarity and certainty for companies that use derivatives to hedge their business risk efficiently, allowing them to focus on growing their business and creating jobs. The Chamber supports H.R. 634, H.R. 742, H.R. 1038, and H.R. 1256. We may consider including votes on, or in relation to, these bills in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-1038-support
H.R. 742: The Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act

June 11, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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, strongly supports H.R. 634, H.R. 742, H.R. 1038, and H.R. 1256, bills that would provide critical relief for Main Street companies that rely on derivatives to manage their business risk, and ensure regulation reflects the global nature of the derivatives market.

H.R. 634, the “Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act of 2013,” would create an exemption for corporate “end users” that manage their business risk with derivatives. Despite the clear intent of Congress to shield end users from unnecessary cash collateral requirements, the Prudential Banking Regulators believe they do not have the flexibility under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) to provide a regulatory exemption. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has noted this problem on a number of occasions and has supported a legislative fix, and an identical bill passed the House in 2012 by an overwhelming bipartisan margin – 370-24. Main Street companies urgently need legislative relief from cash draining government-imposed margin requirements, so they are not forced to choose between hedging risk and growing their businesses.

H.R. 742, the “Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act of 2013,” would eliminate an unworkable indemnification requirement in Dodd-Frank that would lead to a balkanized system for storing and accessing swaps data. Some foreign jurisdictions have laws or regulations that make indemnification impossible, and therefore prevent foreign regulators from accessing swaps information from U.S.-registered swap data repositories. This bill would repeal the indemnification requirement, but make clear that regulators have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the information.

H.R. 1038, the “Public Power Risk Management Act of 2013,” would help ensure that public utilities’ ability to hedge their risk and minimize customer costs would not be hindered by Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulation. CFTC’s “swap dealer” definition punishes counterparties who transact with “special entities” like public utilities by increasing their compliance burden, making it more difficult and more expensive for these special entities to find willing partners in the market.

H.R. 1256, the “Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act,” would require CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct a joint rulemaking to define the territorial reach of U.S. derivatives regulation, while carefully considering the costs and benefits of regulating transactions between non-U.S. counterparties. CFTC has proposed guidance, rather than a notice and comment period for proposed rulemaking, while SEC has more faithfully followed the regulatory process. The lack of interagency coordination on even this basic procedural point is problematic, but more concerning is CFTC’s substantive approach which could increase end user costs by imposing new burdens on their dealer counterparties that operate globally.

These bills would provide clarity and certainty for companies that use derivatives to hedge their business risk efficiently, allowing them to focus on growing their business and creating jobs. The Chamber supports H.R. 634, H.R. 742, H.R. 1038, and H.R. 1256. We may consider including votes on, or in relation to, these bills in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-742-support
H.R. 634: The Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act

June 11, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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, strongly supports H.R. 634, H.R. 742, H.R. 1038, and H.R. 1256, bills that would provide critical relief for Main Street companies that rely on derivatives to manage their business risk, and ensure regulation reflects the global nature of the derivatives market.

H.R. 634, the “Business Risk Mitigation and Price Stabilization Act of 2013,” would create an exemption for corporate “end users” that manage their business risk with derivatives. Despite the clear intent of Congress to shield end users from unnecessary cash collateral requirements, the Prudential Banking Regulators believe they do not have the flexibility under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) to provide a regulatory exemption. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has noted this problem on a number of occasions and has supported a legislative fix, and an identical bill passed the House in 2012 by an overwhelming bipartisan margin – 370-24. Main Street companies urgently need legislative relief from cash draining government-imposed margin requirements, so they are not forced to choose between hedging risk and growing their businesses.

H.R. 742, the “Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act of 2013,” would eliminate an unworkable indemnification requirement in Dodd-Frank that would lead to a balkanized system for storing and accessing swaps data. Some foreign jurisdictions have laws or regulations that make indemnification impossible, and therefore prevent foreign regulators from accessing swaps information from U.S.-registered swap data repositories. This bill would repeal the indemnification requirement, but make clear that regulators have an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the information.

H.R. 1038, the “Public Power Risk Management Act of 2013,” would help ensure that public utilities’ ability to hedge their risk and minimize customer costs would not be hindered by Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulation. CFTC’s “swap dealer” definition punishes counterparties who transact with “special entities” like public utilities by increasing their compliance burden, making it more difficult and more expensive for these special entities to find willing partners in the market.

H.R. 1256, the “Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act,” would require CFTC and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to conduct a joint rulemaking to define the territorial reach of U.S. derivatives regulation, while carefully considering the costs and benefits of regulating transactions between non-U.S. counterparties. CFTC has proposed guidance, rather than a notice and comment period for proposed rulemaking, while SEC has more faithfully followed the regulatory process. The lack of interagency coordination on even this basic procedural point is problematic, but more concerning is CFTC’s substantive approach which could increase end user costs by imposing new burdens on their dealer counterparties that operate globally.

These bills would provide clarity and certainty for companies that use derivatives to hedge their business risk efficiently, allowing them to focus on growing their business and creating jobs. The Chamber supports H.R. 634, H.R. 742, H.R. 1038, and H.R. 1256. We may consider including votes on, or in relation to, these bills in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-634-support
H.R. 1062: SEC Regulatory Accountability Act

May 14, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

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, strongly supports H.R. 1062, the “SEC Regulatory Accountability Act,” which would institute innovative measures to improve the cost-benefit analysis and rulemaking by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Chamber also supports an amendment expected to be offered by Rep. Hurt that would expand the bill’s coverage to rulemakings by subordinate entities.

The use of cost-benefit analysis in rulemaking is a significant issue of public policy. That is why earlier this year the Chamber issued The Importance of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Financial Regulation, a report outlining the legal requirements and historic use of cost-benefit analysis by financial service regulators.

H.R. 1062 would codify regulatory reform principles contained in Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, issued by Presidents Clinton and Obama. These bi-partisan principles state that:

 Regulators must identify the source of the problem, and should promulgate a regulation only if the benefits outweigh the costs;

 Regulators must impose the least burden on society consistent with obtaining objectives;

 Regulators must identify and assess available alternatives to regulation;

 There must be public participation in the regulatory process;

 Regulators must evaluate if a proposed regulation is inconsistent, incompatible, or

duplicative of other federal regulations; and

 Existing regulations should be periodically reviewed to identify obsolete or ineffective

regulations.

SEC has been unwilling to ensure that these principles are part of commission rulemaking.

Smart regulation requires a re-thinking of the process for developing and implementing regulations. A final regulation should be the start of this process, not the completion. The current means of producing cost-benefit analysis is limited and subject to potential manipulation. Accordingly, the Chamber believes that the innovative approach contained in H.R. 1062, combining a pre-adoption cost-benefit analysis with a post-adoption look-back requirement, would allow SEC to better assess the real world impacts of new regulations and address unforeseen consequences quickly.



Under this approach, SEC would collect data and re-evaluate a rule after a defined period to determine a rule’s effectiveness, and if it should be modified or if it is needed at all. Such a periodic check of all rules would help determine if rules are obsolete. Knowing that rules would be empirically examined would force SEC examination staff to develop an internal discipline to carefully weigh important factors in the drafting process. Requiring the examination staff to consider these issues at the outset would cause it to be more pro-active in its inspection program, less inclined to focus on after-the-fact disasters, and would provide SEC with more oversight of its function.

This approach, as well as other requirements in H.R. 1062, would allow SEC to better understand the markets and products it regulates, thereby closing the regulatory dead-zones that were a contributory cause of the 2008 financial crisis.

An amendment is also expected to be offered by Mr. Hurt that would make rulemaking by entities such as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) subject to the same requirements and enhancements contained in H.R. 1062. These subordinate organizations can develop standards and rules that can have the same effect as regulation. Rules of this sort also have to go through a final SEC rulemaking process and therefore should be subject to the same drafting requirements and cost- benefit analysis. The Chamber strongly supports this amendment.

The Chamber supports H.R. 1062, and an amendment expected to be offered by Rep. Hurt, as it would assist SEC in becoming a better regulator, thereby promoting the safety and soundness of the capital markets, and aiding capital formation needed for economic growth and job creation. The Chamber may consider including votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 1062 in our How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-1062-support
H.R. 1406: Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013

May 7, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses 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, strongly urges you to support H.R. 1406, the “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013.” This bill would give private sector employees the same opportunity to earn paid time off from working overtime as currently enjoyed by public sector employees.

This bill, introduced by Representative Roby, would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to allow private sector employers to offer their workers a voluntary choice between being paid in monetary overtime wages or receiving paid time off. Paid time off would accrue at a rate of one and one half hours for each hour of overtime worked, in the same way as the current overtime pay is one and a half times the base rate of pay. This is a choice that has been available in the public sector since 1985 where it has worked well.

H.R. 1406 is a simple, common sense solution to provide employers some additional flexibility in today’s workplace to help employees balance work and family responsibilities or other personal needs. This bill also would allow employees to revert to the traditional overtime compensation, once they have chosen the comp time option, if they decide that better meets their needs. Any hours left unused at the end of the year would be automatically paid out as a wage supplement. Finally, this bill includes strong protections against employers coercing or forcing employees to accept the compensatory time option.

To give employers more ability to help their employees meet today’s many demands for personal time, the Chamber strongly urges you to support H.R. 1406. The Chamber may consider votes on, or in relation to, this issue in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-1406-support
H.R. 624: CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act)

April 17, 2013

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, strongly supports H.R. 624, the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act” (CISPA), and opposes any amendments that would weaken this important legislation.

The bill would take an important step towards strengthening America’s security by removing legal hurdles that currently prevent the private sector and government from rapidly sharing cyber threat information. The Chamber has consistently supported legislation that would put timely, reliable, and actionable information into the hands of business owners and operators so that they can better protect their systems and assets against nefarious actors, including rogue individuals, organized criminals, and groups carrying out state-sponsored attacks. H.R. 624 supports existing information-sharing and analysis organizations, and incorporates lessons learned from pilot programs and exercises undertaken by critical infrastructure sectors. These programs and exercises offer complementary, demonstrated models for enabling the government to share cyber threat intelligence with the private sector cyber risk profile while protecting privacy and civil liberties.

In addition, H.R. 624 would provide needed legal certainty that threat and vulnerability information voluntarily shared with the government would be granted safe harbor against the risk of frivolous lawsuits, would be exempt from public disclosure, and could not be used by officials to regulate other activities. The legislation would also provide an exemption from antitrust laws, to facilitate greater exchange of information among private entities in order to help prevent, investigate, and mitigate threats to cybersecurity.

H.R. 624, sponsored by Reps. Mike Rogers and C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, was reported out of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee last week by a vote of 18 to 2. Business leaders have made passing a smart and effective information-sharing bill a top legislative priority because they believe it is the best tool available to help the United States detect and respond to highly sophisticated digital attacks. If an information-sharing bill is to truly strengthen America’s cybersecurity, the technical aspects—the so-called ones and zeros—of a cyber attack must be disclosed in real time.

The Chamber opposes an amendment by Rep. Conyers, Schakowsky, Jackson Lee, Johnson, and Holt that would impair this bill. As currently drafted, the amendment would weaken a core purpose of H.R. 624 by excluding “decisions made for cybersecurity purposes” from the liability exemption section of the bill.

The Chamber applauds the House for passing on Tuesday three information- security measures. Two bills—H.R. 756 and H.R. 967—would improve national efforts devoted to cybersecurity research and development. The third, H.R. 1163, would update the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA), enabling the government to proactively counter risks based on continuous monitoring of civilian government networks and system activity.

Our organization is disappointed that the administration has threatened to veto H.R. 624. The legislation is a work in progress. Reps. Rogers and Ruppersberger and their staffs have done an extraordinary job engaging a variety of stakeholders—including the White House and privacy groups—to craft a bill that would increase America’s security and protect individuals’ civil liberties. The lawmakers have negotiated nearly 20 privacy- enhancing changes to H.R. 624 since it was first introduced in 2011, and more are expected to be considered on the House floor.

At a time when the Administration is seeking industry support for developing and implementing the cybersecurity framework provided by the recently released Executive Order on cybersecurity, the Chamber believes passage H.R. 624 would put wind behind the sails of the presidential order.

The Chamber supports H.R. 624 and opposes weakening amendments. The Chamber may include votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 624 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(Letter provided to POPVOX by Congressional office.)

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-624-support
H.R. 803: SKILLS Act
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-803-support
Immigration Reform Principles

U.S. Chamber’s Donohue Comments on Bipartisan Immigration Reform Framework

Jan 28, 2013—U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued the following statement today regarding the bipartisan framework for immigration reform introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY):

“We strongly support the outline for immigration reform issued by the bipartisan group of Senators. We know that many details will need to be worked out, but we are very encouraged by this framework for reform and look forward to helping advance comprehensive immigration legislation and build public support. The Chamber stands ready to work with all stakeholders to enact immigration reform that strengthens our competitiveness, helps us attract and retain the world’s best talent and hardest workers, secures our borders, and keeps faith with America’s legacy as a welcoming society.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

http://www.uschambe...on-reform-framework

* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-x-106-support
S. 3285: A bill to authorize the extension of nondiscriminatory treatment (normal trade relations treatment) to products of the Russian Federation.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dear Chairman Baucus and Ranking Member Hatch:

As the Senate Committee on Finance prepares to mark up important trade legislation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges you to favorably report legislation to approve Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia and Moldova (S. 3285), to renew the AGOA Third Country Fabric provision, and enact CAFTA-DR technical corrections (S. 3326), and avoid any amendment that would weaken these important bills.

In a welcome development for American workers, farmers, and companies, Russia will join the World Trade Organization (WTO) in August. S. 3285 would require Russia to implement a host of economic reforms, including further opening its market to U.S. goods, services, and investment; ensuring greater respect for the rule of law; and protecting intellectual property.

U.S. companies see huge potential in Russia, which boasts the ninth largest economy in the world and a growing middle class. Of the top 15 U.S. trading partners, Russia was the market where American companies enjoyed the fastest export growth last year at 38 percent.

However, the United States will not get the full benefit of Russia’s market-opening reforms unless Congress approves legislation extending PNTR and graduating Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment. This legislation is the Chamber’s top trade priority before the Congress this year.

The Jackson-Vanik amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 was devised to press the Soviet Union to allow emigration of Soviet Jews, prisoners of conscience, and victims of religious persecution. With respect to Russia, Jackson-Vanik has fully accomplished its objective. With the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago, Russia established freedom of emigration for all citizens. Since 1992, U.S. presidents of both parties have issued annual certifications of Russia’s full compliance with the Jackson-Vanik amendment.

Because no other WTO member has a law similar to Jackson-Vanik, all of Russia’s trading partners except the United States will immediately benefit when Russia joins the WTO next month. Failure to approve PNTR and repeal Jackson-Vanik with regard to Russia would allow Moscow to discriminate against U.S. companies and the workers they employ as well as deny them the full benefits of Russia’s market-opening reforms. Meanwhile, European and Asian companies will be able to build on their already significant head start in tapping the growing Russian market.

PNTR does not extend any “trade preferences” to Russia. Rather, it exclusively benefits U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers, and companies selling their goods and services in the Russian market. The United States gives up nothing— not a single tariff— in approving PNTR.

The President’s Export Council estimates that U.S. exports of goods and services to Russia—which, according to estimates, topped $11 billion in 2011—could double or triple once Russia joins the WTO. Business opportunities in Russia are expected to grow substantially after Russia finalizes its accession to the WTO.

One often-posed question is: What happens if Russia fails to meet its commitments? In the area of intellectual property protection, for example, Russia continues to present significant challenges to U.S. innovators and creative artists. The Chamber will continue to urge the U.S. government to remain vigilant in ensuring that Russia implements its intellectual property commitments in full, including by making greater progress combating online piracy.

However, addressing these challenges would be easier once Russia joins the WTO. If Congress approves PNTR with Russia, the United States will for the first time be able to use the WTO dispute settlement process to hold the Russian authorities accountable should they fail to fulfill their commitments as a new member of the organization.

Russia’s accession to the WTO has been a bipartisan American foreign policy goal for many years. In 1993, Russia applied to join General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the precursor to the WTO. After years of talks, the Bush Administration took a major step forward in 2006 when it signed a bilateral agreement with Russia to address uniquely bilateral trade concerns. The Obama Administration concluded the multilateral negotiations for Russia’s accession in December 2011.

Many of these arguments are also true in the case of Moldova, which joined the WTO in 2001. In fact, Moldova offers a cautionary tale of what the absence of PNTR can mean for U.S. exports, which have stagnated at less than $50 million annually in recent years. As Anders Aslund of the Peterson Institute for International Economics wrote after a recent visit, “the absence of PNTR leaves Moldova in a legal limbo, and businessmen report that it is difficult to receive U.S. credits for export to Moldova.” It is past time to also approve PNTR with Moldova.

Separately, the Third Country Fabric provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) expires September 30, 2012. In addition, the technical fixes approved by the U.S.- Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) trade ministers more than a year ago have yet to be enacted. Given the broad bipartisan support for both of these measures, the Chamber recently joined with 13 other business organizations to urge approval of legislation to renew the AGOA Third Country Fabric provision and enact the CAFTA-DR technical fixes without further delay.

The negative consequences of the looming expiration of AGOA’s Third Country Fabric provision could be devastating for numerous African countries. Moreover, the impact is by no means limited to sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, the delay in renewing this non-controversial measure, which is at the core of AGOA apparel provisions, has already forced many U.S. companies to shift their 3rd and 4th quarter 2012 orders to other countries to avoid uncertainties.

Inaction is difficult to justify given that the Third Country Fabric provision has proven beneficial to U.S. businesses and non-controversial in Congress and in the U.S. business community. Regardless, as uncertainty grows over renewal, African apparel-producing countries have already experienced a 30% drop in apparel orders since January 2012. This decline in orders has already led to the loss of thousands of jobs in Africa, with hundreds of thousands more hanging in the balance.

Many of our member companies, including many unrelated to the apparel sector, have repeatedly expressed grave concern over the fallout from further delay. A perception among African governments that Congress is abandoning Africa is worrisome to many U.S. investors, who must rely on the goodwill of these governments as American companies seeking market access in Africa and competing against companies from other regions.

Similarly, in March 2011, the CAFTA-DR trade ministers met in El Salvador and approved several changes related to CAFTA-DR rules of origin that will benefit the Western Hemisphere textile and apparel supply chain. This move to correct technical errors in the agreement is a job-preserving measure that will allow U.S. producers to recapture market share in the important CAFTA-DR market.

All our CAFTA-DR partners have already completed the domestic procedures necessary to make these changes take effect. Only the United States has yet to take action. Continued uncertainty prompted by this delay will undermine the trade benefits that we have already seen under the CAFTA-DR. Such action is essential to supporting the hundreds of thousands of U.S., Central American, and Dominican workers whose jobs depend on a vibrant Western Hemisphere textile and apparel supply chain.

The Chamber greatly appreciates the leadership of the Committee to advance a trade agenda that supports American jobs and economic growth. The Chamber urges you to approve PNTR with Russia and Moldova as well as legislation to renew the AGOA Third Country Fabric provision and enact the CAFTA-DR technical corrections while avoiding any amendments that would weaken these important bills.

http://www.uschambe...-and-moldova-s-3285

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-s-3285-support
H.R. 6429: The STEM Jobs Act

September 19, 2012

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports H.R. 6429, the “STEM Jobs Act of 2012,” which would spur innovation and create high paying manufacturing and research jobs in the U.S. by establishing a new green card program for advanced degree graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

America has been greatly enriched by the contributions of gifted engineers, researchers, and scientists from around the world who have chosen to come here to study and innovate. However, the U.S. immigration system has failed to adapt in ways that would help ensure the U.S. maintains this advantage. Each year, graduate students who complete advanced STEM degrees from America’s top universities are offered jobs here by U.S. employers, yet tens of thousands of them ultimately take their ideas and skills to other countries because of inadequacies in the immigration system. H.R. 6429 would bolster American competitiveness by allocating up to 55,000 green cards a year so these skilled innovators will create new jobs and products here in America rather than elsewhere.

It is important to note that these green cards may only be approved following a labor market certification process. This process requires employers to demonstrate that qualified American workers are not available for the position in question, consistent with the terms, conditions and wages offered similarly situated professionals in the occupation.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly supports H.R. 6429, the “STEM Jobs Act of 2012.” The Chamber urges you to vote in favor of the “STEM Jobs Act of 2012” and may consider including votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 6429 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-x-40-support
H.R. 6082 (112th): The Congressional Replacement of President Obama’s Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan

July 24, 2012

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports H.R. 6082, the “Congressional Replacement of President Obama's Energy-Restricting and Job-Limiting Offshore Drilling Plan,” which would amend the Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Program for 2012-2017 to include areas in the Mid- Atlantic, Alaska, and Southern California planning areas originally in the Draft Proposed Plan.

Significant quantities of oil and natural gas lie within America’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), but the vast majority of these energy-rich areas have been under real and de facto moratoria for several decades. The Department of Interior’s (DOI) OCS Leasing Program for 2012-2017, issued in January 2009, was the first iteration of a Leasing Program after the lapse of the Congressional moratorium and administrative withdrawal, both of which severely constrained areas available for exploration and production. The 2009 Draft Proposed Program significantly expanded the areas available for energy exploration and production and put the United States on a path to greater domestic energy production and less imported energy.

In 2009, the Administration scrapped the 2009 Draft Proposed Plan and in 2011 issued a Proposed Plan, which placed more than 86% of all federal OCS land off limits. This move was a tremendous step backwards for American domestic energy production. Energy research firm Wood Mackenzie calculates that full development of the offshore areas left off-limits by DOI’s current plan—the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and most of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico—could provide hundreds of thousands of additional new jobs, more than $300 billion in cumulative additional revenue for government, and nearly 4 million addition barrels oil equivalent per day by 2030.

In 2011, 9% of all new jobs were created by the oil and natural gas industry in spite of federal policies limiting new exploration and production. H.R. 6082 takes an important step in removing many of those limitations by including new energy-rich areas of America’s OCS in the Leasing Program for 2012-2017. This bill corrects a strategic mistake made by DOI and places the U.S. on a course towards job creation, economic growth, and a more secure energy future.

The Chamber strongly supports H.R. 6082, which would put the United States on a path to greater domestic energy production. The Chamber may consider including votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 6082 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-6082-support
S.J.Res. 36 (112th): A resolution disapproving a NLRB rule regarding union elections

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges you to support and co-sponsor S.J. Res. 36, a resolution of disapproval that would repeal recent revisions the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) made to regulations governing union representation elections.

These regulations replace a process that, in the vast majority of cases, worked fairly and efficiently. In fiscal year 2010, the average time for union representation elections was just 38 days, with more than 95 percent of all elections occurring within 56 days. However, rather than look at targeted solutions for the small percentage of cases that take too long, the Board made sweeping changes that will apply to all elections.

While the substantive regulations adopted by the NLRB are detailed and complex, the end result is that election time will likely decrease significantly at the expense of important due process and free speech rights. The simple fact is that employees deserve a fair campaign period to hear from all sides and employers deserve an opportunity to have critical election-related questions settled before an election occurs. Organized labor has long sought to radically reduce or even eliminate this campaign period, which was precisely the goal of the “card check” provisions of the deceptively named “Employee Free Choice Act” (EFCA). Congress was right to reject EFCA and it should likewise reject the NLRB’s new election regulations.

Due to the critical importance of this issue to the business community, the Chamber strongly urges you to support and co-sponsor S.J. Res. 36.

http://www.uschambe...sentation-elections

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-sjres-36-support
H.R. 3523 (112th): The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA)

Dear Representative Rogers:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, supports the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011,” which would be an important step in assisting the nation’s public and private sectors to prevent, deter, and mitigate the array of cyber threats from illicit actors without imposing burdensome regulations on industry.

Chamber members devote substantial resources toward protecting sensitive consumer and business information and critical infrastructure. This bill would address the needs of companies to receive timely and actionable information from government partners to protect their computer networks and those of their customers. It would knock down policy and legal barriers that have limited the healthy sharing of cyber threat information between and among elements of the public and private sectors. It would also allow “certified” businesses, their employees, and other information-sharing organizations to anonymize or restrict the information they provide to others, including government agencies and departments.

In addition, this legislation would ensure that threat information voluntarily shared with the government would be exempt from public disclosure and would be prohibited from use by officials in regulatory matters. The bill would also provide liability protection for companies that protect their own networks in good faith or disclose cyber threat information with other eligible entities. Moreover, the Chamber expects that the information-sharing efforts envisioned in this bill would serve to supplement, rather than replace, the public-private partnerships fostered under the National Infrastructure Protection Plan framework, which continue to mature.

This bill includes the several policy recommendations the Chamber has proposed for improving cybersecurity and information-sharing processes. The recent defense industrial base pilot project is a key model for demonstrating how government cyber threat intelligence can be shared with the private sector in an operationally usable manner.

Making cyber threat intelligence more readily useful and available is fundamental to any

long-term endeavor to defend our country and make our communities more resilient. The Chamber commends your leadership on this important issue, and looks forward to working with you to advance this important issue.

http://intelligence...fCommerce112911.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3523-support
H.R. 3409: Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012

2/28/12 -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, supports H.R. 3409, the “Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act.” This bill would prevent the implementation of the “Stream Protection Rule,” a controversial regulation under development by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), that would drastically reduce domestic coal production and put thousands of miners out of work.

OSM’s forthcoming “Stream Protection Rule” is the latest in a long line of recent environmental regulations that have the potential to put the coal industry out of business. This rule would harm jobs: under OSM’s own analysis, coal production would drop between 20 and 30 percent in the Eastern United States and would drop 50 percent in underground mines nationwide, destroying 20,000 coal mining and related jobs. OSM estimates that the rule would increase the unemployment rate in some coal mining regions to levels exceeding 10 percent. Private sector analysis of the rule indicates that job losses could be significantly higher than even

OSM’s estimates.

Compounding the problem is the recent revelation that OSM officials asked contractors to alter their methodology to mask the regulation’s economic impact. OSM has denied any wrongdoing and is investigating the charge.

H.R. 3409 would give the coal industry a much-needed “time-out” from the “Stream Protection Rule.” The industry is already bound by a stream buffer zone rule issued in 2008, the result of a five-year rulemaking process and over 5,000 pages of environmental analysis. Allowing OSM to proceed with the flawed and controversial “Stream Protection Rule” would cost jobs in an industry that simply cannot afford to lose any more.

The Chamber supports H.R. 3409, and urges the Committee to report this legislation to the full House as expeditiously as practicable.

http://www.uschambe...-energy-infrastruct

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3409-support
H.R. 4017: Smart Energy Act

2/24/12 -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, supports H.R. 4017, the “Smart Energy Act,” which would leverage the power of the private sector to create jobs and make the federal government more energy efficient.

The highlight of H.R. 4017 is a provision that would require federal agencies to use Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) to accomplish energy efficient retrofits of federal buildings. ESPCs are long-term contracts under which a private Energy Services Company (ESCO) designs, acquires, installs, and finances energy and/or water conservation measures for an existing federally-owned building, and is repaid by the agency from the resulting energy, water, and related cost savings. ESPCs are an existing, statutorily-established program of public-private partnerships between federal agencies and ESCOs that put the best that the private sector has to offer to work in improving federal energy performance. The energy savings are guaranteed by the ESCO and no upfront capital costs are required from the agency.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimates that simply carrying out the existing $80 billion ESPC program could result in $21 billion in net savings to the U.S. government, create more than 40,000 new jobs annually for a decade and accomplish the energy savings equivalent of 1.2 billion barrels of oil. Yet, despite the ESPC program’s obvious benefits, federal agencies have been slow to use ESPCs to make their buildings more efficient. H.R. 4017 would solve this problem, creating jobs and saving energy without using a penny of taxpayer money.

H.R. 4017 would also direct the federal government to participate in energy-saving Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESCs) and demand response programs; expand an existing federal loan program to allow qualifying businesses to make low-risk energy-efficiency upgrades in commercial, multifamily residential, industrial, municipal, government, school, and hospital buildings; and require research, coordination and reporting on energy use by federal agencies to make government a smarter consumer of energy.

The Chamber applauds your leadership on this issue and looks forward to working with you to enact this legislation.

http://www.uschambe...energy-act%E2%80%9D

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-4017-support
H.R. 4078: Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act

2/27/12 - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, supports H.R. 4078, the “Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012,” as an important tool to rein in an out of control regulatory bureaucracy. This bill would prevent the largest, most costly new regulations from going final and harming our economy until the national unemployment rate improves significantly, thereby highlighting the inverse relationship between regulatory burden and job creation.

Regulations are a necessary part of a complex society. But an unbalanced federal regulatory process has led to an unprecedented increase in major, economically significant regulations, some of which are harming the economy and inhibiting job creation. These regulations also threaten to erode the carefully calibrated constitutional system of checks and balances that is the foundation for the American system of government. Hastily written regulations coming out in the health care, environmental, and financial arenas are issued with little apparent regard for the dramatic impact they will have on employers, and their ability to grow their businesses and hire more employees. These economically significant rules have a chilling effect on the entire U.S. economy.

The Chamber believes that excessive regulatory burdens are not compatible with economic prosperity or job creation. H.R. 4078 would allow the thousands of minor, non-controversial regulations that “keep the lights on” to move forward, while placing an important check on the relatively small number of economically significant regulations that impact the business community’s ability to compete. It would also provide judicial review so that agencies can be held accountable if they fail to comply with the requirements of this bill.

The Chamber supports H.R. 4078, and applauds you for your leadership on this important issue.

http://www.uschambe...reeze-jobs-act-2012

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-4078-support
H.R. 3864 (112th): The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act

Dear Chairman Camp and Ranking Member Levin:

For the past thirty years, Congress has provided dedicated funding for highway and transit programs through an excise tax on gasoline dedicated to the Highway Trust Fund.

This funding structure has successfully provided highway and transit programs with secure, dedicated revenues and budgetary firewalls dating back to the Reagan administration. The success of this approach is without question: The Trust Fund has been critical to our nation’s ability to build an efficient and multimodal transportation system. With record transit ridership, now is not the time to eliminate guaranteed funding for our nation’s public transportation systems, which saved Americans close to $19 billion in congestion costs in 2009. For the first time in thirty years, the pending legislation H.R. 3864, the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act, removes the certainty of a continued revenue source for our transit systems as well as the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program.

Specifically, we are deeply concerned about the provision in H.R. 3864 that would terminate funding from the excise tax on gasoline and replace it with the Alternative Transportation Account. In place of gasoline tax revenues, the legislation would provide a one time $40 billion transfer of General Fund revenues to the Alternative Transportation Account. Not only is this level of funding insufficient to fully fund the proposed authorized levels for the Alternative Transportation Account, but it would subject transit and CMAQ funding to the annual appropriations process. This change will make it impossible for public transit systems across the country to plan for the future. It will also make it impossible for the FTA to honor grant agreements.

In addition, this legislation does not make clear how the $40 billion in General Fund revenues will be offset in the U.S. budget. As a result of this funding gap, we are concerned that the $40 billion general revenue transfer may not occur leaving transit programs out in the cold.

We strongly encourage the Committee to reject H.R. 3864 and work to continue to fund highway and transit programs through dedicated funding.

http://www.asce.org...lition%20letter.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3864-oppose
H.R. 3261 (112th): The STOP Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

A coalition of over 380 businesses, trade associations, and professional groups from nearly every sector of the economy in all 50 states support enhanced enforcement against rogue sites. Today, the U.S. House of Representative has responded to that call with the introduction of Stop Online Piracy Act.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauds the introduction of Stop Online Piracy Act that will disconnect websites dedicated to online piracy and counterfeiting from the U.S. marketplace. This legislation will provide U.S. law enforcement with refined legal tools to act against “rogue sites,” which steal American jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and weaken the online commerce ecosystem.

“Websites that blatantly steal the creativity and innovation of American industries violate a fundamental right to property,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber. “Operators of rogue sites threaten American jobs, endanger consumer safety, and undermine the vitality of the online marketplace. I commend Representatives Smith, Goodlatte, Conyers, and Watt for standing up to the mass theft of American intellectual property.” The bipartisan House proposal is also co-sponsored by Representatives Quayle and Berman.

The Stop Online Piracy Act will disconnect websites dedicated to online piracy and counterfeiting from the U.S. marketplace. This legislation will provide U.S. law enforcement with refined legal tools to act against “rogue sites,” which steal American jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and weaken the online commerce ecosystem.

Rogue sites attract 53 billion visits per year, jeopardizing the more than $7.7 trillion of U.S. GDP and 60% of exports that the industries they steal from produce for our economy. The sweeping alliance of business and labor leaders, which represent nearly every sector of the 19 million Americans employed in IP-dependent industries, have all called for enhanced enforcement against rogue sites.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to those who take advantage of U.S. innovators and chip away at the American workforce,” Donohue added. “While rogue sites pose a unique set of challenges, legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act introduced today offer clear, tailored enforcement tools to effectively root them out. The U.S. Chamber looks forward to working with the broad coalition of businesses of every size and shape, and organized labor to support Members of the House and Senate and ensure that rogue sites legislation is enacted this year.”

For more information on this legislation and the campaign against online theft, please visit www.fightonlinetheft.com.

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion intellectual property (IP) rights as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

http://www.uschambe...-sever-rogue-websit

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3261-support
Make the 0.8% Unemployment Insurance Tax Permanent

The Federal Unemployment Tax Act, or FUTA, imposes a 6.2% payroll tax on the first $7,000 of income paid by employers to each of their employees annually. FUTA came into existence in 1939 to guarantee financing for a national employment security system. The idea was for employers to pay the costs of administering the unemployment compensation and national job placement system. In return, employers would receive assistance in recruiting new workers and the unemployed would be able to find jobs more quickly.

The 6.2 percent rate includes a "temporary" surtax of 0.2 percent that was added in 1976, and most recently extended through June 30, 2011.

The Administration included a provision in its FY2012 budget proposal to make the FUTA surtax permanent, which would amount to a permanent tax increase on employers.

The FY 2012 budget proposal also would increase the wage base subject to FUTA from $7,000 to $15,000, index the wage base to wage growth and reduce the rate to 5.78%.

U.S. CHAMBER POSITION

The time has come to end the "temporary" FUTA surtax. Businesses are already managing through the stresses of the financial crisis, enhanced regulation and fiscal uncertainty. The FUTA surtax has outlived its usefulness.

The Chamber sees increasing the wage base as a means of generating additional FUTA revenue from employers, which raises concerns about the impact this proposal, if enacted, would have on employers’ ability to create jobs.

http://www.uschambe...econtax/futa-surtax

(This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-x-24-oppose
H.R. 2577: SAFE Data Act

Dear Chairman Bono Mack and Ranking Member Butterfield:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, is concerned with several provisions H.R. 2577, the “Secure and Fortify Electronic Data Act” (“SAFE Data Act”).

The Chamber appreciates the goal of this legislation. Protecting individuals’ sensitive personal information from theft or illegal uses has been and will continue to be a top priority for the business community. Enacting a uniform federal standard for data security and breach notifications could ease compliance and foster job creation.

However, the Chamber believes that certain aspects of this legislation could impede the ability of businesses to expand and innovate. The Chamber urges the Subcommittee to address these shortcomings before the bill reaches the full Committee.

Fully and Completely Preempt All State Laws and Regulations that Deal with Data Security and Breach Notification Requirements

The preemption this legislation would provide only applies to entities that are “subject to this Act,” meaning that certain types of entities would remain subject to data security and breach notification requirements at the state level. This lack of full preemption could create a confusing patchwork of requirements and enforcement regimes that could undermine the effectiveness of this legislation. Therefore, to ease regulatory and compliance requirements and to facilitate job creation and innovation, the Chamber urges the Subcommittee to establish a true national, uniform standard for data security and breach notification.

Eliminate or Limit Enforcement of the Act by State Attorneys General

The Chamber is concerned that enabling state attorneys general to impose 50 different enforcement regimes would undermine the uniformity of this legislation, and make compliance exceedingly difficult. As a result, we urge you not to provide them such authority. At the very least, the bill should curtail the ability of state attorneys general to utilize contingency fee arrangements with private attorneys to enforce this Act or to litigate claims on behalf of their constituents.

Ensure that Entities are Fully and Completely Exempt from Duplicative Regulations

The Chamber urges the Subcommittee to ensure that entities subject to other federal data security and breach notification requirements are exempted from the requirements of this legislation. The Chamber believes that allowing duplicative regulatory regimes would destroy the uniformity and certainty that the legislation is intended to create. Given the potential conflicts with having data covered by more than one federal law, a covered entity could very well find itself unable to comply with separate federal laws for the same covered information,

thereby unintentionally subjecting itself to fines and other enforcement actions for noncompliance.

Clarify Liability Provisions

The Chamber is concerned about the application of a daily fine as it relates to the bill’s security requirements. Specifically, the Chamber recommends that minor technical violations should not be result in either civil penalties or liabilities. Also, the Chamber urges the Subcommittee to clarify several confusing provisions. If an entity is found liable for violating the data minimization requirement, is every day that the entity maintains records that should have been destroyed throughout all of their databases a multiplier penalty? If so, companies could be potentially in permanent violation. How would settlement agreements affect the maximum total liability cap? How would state AG enforcement impact the cap? Additionally, the potential of $5,000,000 in penalties per violation seems disproportionate and would place an excessive financial burden on business, especially small businesses; therefore, the Chamber urges the Subcommittee to lower the cap to a much more reasonable amount.

Permit Greater Flexibility on Timing of Breach Notification

The Chamber agrees that consumers should be notified in a timely manner after the occurrence of a reportable data breach. However, given the complexities of dealing with a data breach, the Chamber recommends that Section 3(a)(4) of the bill be modified by replacing “not later than 48 hours” with text permitting greater flexibility (e.g., “as promptly as possible” or “without unreasonable delay”).

Eliminate the Data Minimization Requirements

The Chamber is concerned that the data minimization requirements established in Section 2(b) are very subjective, and could impose liability on companies for retaining data that they believe will be beneficial. Rather than risk liability, companies may self-censor. By taking such action, these companies may fail to realize the full, legitimate benefits of their data. Innovation and economic activity could suffer.

Remove the FTC’s Ability to Modify the Definition of Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

While the Chamber appreciates the limitations placed on the FTC’s ability to modify the definition of PII, we believe that the FTC’s ability to modify the definition through their current rulemaking authority is sufficient. Providing the FTC with additional rulemaking authority in this case would create regulatory uncertainty and harm business’ ability to innovate.

Thank you for taking our concerns into consideration. The Chamber looks forward to continued discussions with you, your committee colleagues, and your staff on this very important topic.

http://www.uschambe...e-data-act%E2%80%9D

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2577-neutral
S. 1746 (112th): The VISIT-USA Act

“In September, the Chamber sent an open letter to President Obama and all members of Congress recommending specific steps that could be taken to spur faster job creation without increasing the deficit. One of the six recommendations included welcoming more tourists and business visitors to the United States. Senators Chuck Schumer and Mike Lee have made an important step towards that goal with the introduction of the “VISIT USA Act.”

“This legislation includes a number of key provisions that promote travel to the United States, including necessary updates to the Visa Waiver Program which would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to add additional program countries after they have successfully met the necessary security requirements. Among other important provisions, this bill would also allow the State Department to offer premium processing for visitors that require expedited visa processing.

“Travel and tourism—a sector dominated by small businesses—accounts for more than $700 billion in revenues and 7.4 million American jobs. When business visitors travel to the United States to buy products or attend conferences, training, and trade shows, they strengthen America’s role as the center of innovation and global commerce. These important reforms could help the United States restore its share of the travel market to its 2000 level of 17 percent and create an additional 1.3 million jobs by 2020.

“For too long, we have created barriers, and too many hoops and hurdles, which act to deter visitors from other countries coming to the United States to spend their money and create jobs. This is a loss we can ill afford in today’s economy. We can address these barriers and still protect the security of the United States. The Schumer-Lee bill meets these twin goals and we look forward to working with the Congress to achieve enactment of this important legislation.”

http://www.uschambe...it-usa-act%E2%80%9D

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-s-1746-support
H.R. 2930: Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly support H.R. 1965, “To amend the securities laws to establish certain thresholds for shareholder registration, and for other purposes;” H.R. 2167, the “Private Company Flexibility and Growth Act;” H.R. 2930, the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act;” and H.R. 2940, the “Access to Capital for Job Creators Act.” These bills would enhance capital formation needed to build new businesses, expand existing businesses and create jobs. The Chamber urges the Subcommittee to report these bills to the full House in the near term.

H.R. 2930 would establish a new Securities Act exemption for small investments in small

issuances, regardless of investors’ accredited status, and exclude investors in such issuances from the Exchange Act’s 499 shareholder cap. This legislation would open up opportunities for small investors to make investments in small businesses.

http://www.centerfo...aters-9.20.2011.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2930-support
H.R. 2940: Access to Capital for Job Creators Act

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly support H.R. 1965, “To amend the securities laws to establish certain thresholds for shareholder registration, and for other purposes;” H.R. 2167, the “Private Company Flexibility and Growth Act;” H.R. 2930, the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act;” and H.R. 2940, the “Access to Capital for Job Creators Act.” These bills would enhance capital formation needed to build new businesses, expand existing businesses and create jobs. The Chamber urges the Subcommittee to report these bills to the full House in the near term.

H.R. 2940 would remove the prohibition on general solicitation or general advertising for

certain small issuances, provided that all purchasers of the securities are accredited investors. This bill would give flexibility to companies to raise capital from accredited investors who do not need heightened protections from the Exchange Act’s provisions.

Read full statement: http://www.centerfo...aters-9.20.2011.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2940-support
H.R. 2167: Private Company Flexibility and Growth Act

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly support H.R. 1965, “To amend the securities laws to establish certain thresholds for shareholder registration, and for other purposes;” H.R. 2167, the “Private Company Flexibility and Growth Act;” H.R. 2930, the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act;” and H.R. 2940, the “Access to Capital for Job Creators Act.” These bills would enhance capital formation needed to build new businesses, expand existing businesses and create jobs. The Chamber urges the Subcommittee to report these bills to the full House in the near term.

H.R. 2167 would raise the Exchange Act’s cap on shareholders from 499 to 999 and

provide that accredited investors and employees that received securities pursuant to an employee compensation plan do not count towards the cap. This bill would increase the ability of all companies to raise capital from a larger base of shareholders and would facilitate investments by employees and accredited investors, who do not need heightened protections from the Exchange Act’s provisions.

Read full statement: http://www.centerfo...aters-9.20.2011.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2167-support
H.R. 1965: To amend the securities laws to establish certain thresholds for shareholder registration, and for other purposes.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the

interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly support H.R. 1965, “To amend the securities laws to establish certain thresholds for shareholder registration, and for other purposes;” H.R. 2167, the “Private Company Flexibility and Growth Act;” H.R. 2930, the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act;” and H.R. 2940, the “Access to Capital for Job Creators Act.” These bills would enhance capital formation needed to build new businesses, expand existing businesses and create jobs. The Chamber urges the Subcommittee to report these bills to the full House in the near term.

H.R. 1965 would raise the Exchange Act’s shareholder cap from 499 to 1,999 shareholders for banks and permits banks with less than 1,200 shareholders to cease reporting requirements under the Exchange Act. This legislation would increase banks’ ability to raise capital from a larger shareholder base, which would creates a level playing field for smaller community banks.

http://www.centerfo...aters-9.20.2011.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-1965-support
H.R. 3012 (112th): The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act
(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3012-support
H.R. 3035 (112th): The Mobile Informational Call Act

Dear Chairman Upton and Ranking Minority Member Waxman:

We the undersigned write to express our strong support for H.R. 3035, the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011. This legislation will modernize the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by enacting limited, common-sense revisions to facilitate the delivery of time-sensitive consumer information to mobile devices, while continuing to protect wireless consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls.

Businesses increasingly rely on advanced communications technologies to convey timely and important information to consumers. These calls notify consumers about threats such as data breaches and fraud alerts, provide timely notice of flight and service appointment cancellations and drug recalls, and protect consumers against the adverse consequences of failure to make timely payments on an account.

Unfortunately, the TCPA restricts informational calls that utilize assistive technologies to mobile devices even though the law permits such calls to be made to wireline phones. As a result, the approximately 40% of American consumers who identify their mobile device as their primary or exclusive means of communication do not receive many of these calls.

This restriction imposes unwarranted costs and inconveniences on consumers, businesses, and the economy as a whole. When enacted in 1991, Congress intended this restriction to protect consumers against the then-daunting per-minute costs and privacy concerns associated with unsolicited incoming calls from telemarketers. But this restriction applies equally to informational calls. In addition, most wireless consumers are now covered by flat-rate plans, and even for those who are not, technological advances and increased competition have greatly reduced per-minute charges.

A strong consumer-protection environment depends on appropriate communication between businesses and their customers. As consumers increasingly rely on wireless phones as their primary, or even sole, means of communication, the TCPA’s outdated restriction on the use of assistive technologies in contacting wireless consumers for non-telemarketing purposes is now doing far more harm than good for the consumers such restriction was intended to protect.

Read more at http://www.cbanet.o...alCallActLetter.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-3035-support
H.R. 2587: Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region strongly supports H.R. 2587, the “Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act” and additional appropriate legislation to rein-in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Department of Labor (DOL).

The NLRB and DOL, through numerous decisions, proposed regulations, and other policy, are making it harder for businesses to justify investing in the United States. The most recent example is the complaint issued by the NLRB’s Acting General Counsel to force The Boeing Company to relocate production of 787 Dreamliners from South Carolina to Washington State.

While Boeing will eventually have its day in court, the process will likely take years and exhaustive litigation expenses. In the meantime, businesses considering investing in new facilities in the United States will think twice and need to consider the risk that their decisions may be second guessed by the NLRB. By prohibiting the NLRB from seeking the extreme remedy forcing relocation of production, this legislation would help remove an element of uncertainty and encourage investment in new U.S. facilities.

While H.R. 2587 is an important step towards reining in NLRB and DOL, the Chamber believes Congress could do more. Congress should consider additional oversight and legislative options to restore balance to interpretation and enforcement of labor laws.

Among the most serious issues threatening employers are:

 DOL proposed revision of the “advice” exemption, which is little more than an attempt

to use disclosure regulations to bully employers into refraining from exercising their

free speech rights;

 NLRB’s proposed ambush election rules, which would make it significantly more

difficult for employers, especially small employers, to respond to union campaigns; and

 NLRB’s change to the rules for determining appropriate bargaining units, giving unions

much greater ability to gerrymander units and create micro or fractured units.

DOL and NLRB have embarked on a course to increasingly destabilize the long-established balance struck by the National Labor Relations Act protecting employee, union, and employer rights and clearly Congress must act. H.R. 2587 would be an important first step to restoring the balance. Due to the critical importance of this issue to the business community, the Chamber strongly supports H.R. 2587, and may consider votes on, or in relation to, H.R. 2587 in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

http://www.uschambe...erenceAct_House.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2587-support
H.R. 2401: Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the

interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, supports H.R. 2401, the “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act of 2011,” which would require the federal government to consider the true economic impact of its major environmental regulations—an analysis mandated by existing law but routinely ignored by the current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Chamber also supports amendments expected to be offered that would expand the list of regulations subject to economic analysis under the bill and provide EPA the ability to consider costs and feasibility when setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) under the Clean Air Act.

Read more: http://www.uschambe...Actof2011_House.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-2401-support
S. 1535: Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act of 2011

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly opposes S. 1535, the “Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act of 2011” because it would impose unnecessary and extremely burdensome regulations on the business community that would inevitably stifle innovation and harm job growth.

Protecting individuals’ sensitive personal information from theft or illegal uses has been and will continue to be a top priority for the business community. Enacting a truly uniform federal standard for data security and breach notifications would ease compliance and foster job creation.

However, S. 1535 is seriously flawed because it is overly-broad and creates a needlessly complex and onerous liability regime. The Chamber has many serious concerns with the bill including, but not limited to, the definition of sensitive personally identifiable information (PII); liability provisions that include a private right of action (with punitive damages for undefined “personal injuries”), excessive civil penalties, and the failure to impose criminal penalties solely on those that actually use PII for unlawful purposes; potential conflicts with existing federal law; inadequate preemption of state laws; overbroad enforcement authority designed to induce settlements at the hands of state attorneys general and an unlimited number of undefined “State or local law enforcement agenc[ies];” a definition of harm that is vague and not restricted to situations where there is significant risk of identity theft, fraud, or other economic harm; the onerous requirements of the personal data privacy and security program; and the data brokerrelated provisions.

For the above reasons, the Chamber respectfully urges you to oppose S. 1535.

Sincerely,

R. Bruce Josten

http://www.uschambe...ata-protection-and-

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-s-1535-oppose
S. 706: 3-D, Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy, and Deficit Reduction Act of 2011

Dear Senator Vitter:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports the “3-D, Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy, and Deficit Reduction Act of 2011” (the “3-D Act”). The Energy Information Administration estimates that energy demand in the United States could grow by more than 30 percent between now and 2035; the 3-D Act helps meet growing demand by removing barriers that delay the regulatory approval process for new energy projects.

The Chamber’s Project No Project initiative (www.projectnoproject.com) has identified 351 proposed renewable, coal, natural gas, nuclear, and transmission projects in 49 states that have been delayed or cancelled due to “Not in My Back Yard” (NIMBY) activism, a broken permitting process, and a calcified regulatory system that allows for limitless lawsuits by opponents of development. The Chamber recently released a first-of-its-kind economic study concluding that the construction phase alone for these 351 projects could yield $1.1 trillion in GDP and 1.9 million jobs annually. Construction of only the largest project in each state would generate $449 billion in economic value and 572,000 annual jobs.

The 3-D Act helps remove many of the typical Project No Project barriers by removing the red tape that stands in the way of progress: the bill streamlines permits, stops Executive Branch inaction on oil and gas leases, cuts back on activists’ use of environmental laws to stop projects, and requires federal agencies to consider economic and employment impacts when they make regulations. The Chamber strongly supports the 3-D Act and stands ready to work with you to improve the nation’s economy by increasing domestic energy production.

Sincerely,

R. Bruce Josten

http://www.uschambe...energy-and-deficit-

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-s-706-support
H.R. 527: Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011

Dear Chairman Graves and Ranking Member Velázquez,

We are writing to express our support for H.R. 527, the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011. The legislation improves the regulatory process by strengthening agency analysis of a rule's impact on small businesses.

Small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy, and their ability to operate efficiently and free of unnecessary regulatory burdens is critical for our country's economic recovery. Research from a 2010 study released by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy illustrates that the small business community is disproportionately affected by burdensome federal regulations. This legislation addresses that small business challenge directly.

H.R. 527 gives the SBA Office of Advocacy additional authorities and requires the office to establish standards for conducting a "regulatory flexibility analysis" during the rulemaking process. It improves transparency and ensures that agencies thoughtfully consider the impact of regulations on small businesses.

The legislation would also improve the accuracy of benefit-cost analysis by requiring agencies to consider the indirect impact of regulations on small business.

Finally, the legislation's provisions on periodic review of rules are in line with President Obama's Executive Order 13563, which requires agencies to conduct a retrospective analysis of existing rules to identify and modify rules in need of reform.

The legislation strengthens the regulatory process and builds upon the intent of Congress when the Regulatory Flexibility Act was originally enacted in 1980.

Thank you for your support of small business and we urge you to vote for the Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011, H.R. 527.

http://www.sbecounc...display.cfm?ID=4475

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-527-support
S. 940: Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act

As stated in our “Key Vote” letter of May 16, the Chamber urges you to oppose S. 940. Levying new taxes and fees on America’s oil and gas industry has been proven to increase U.S. dependence on foreign oil, increase costs to consumers, and jeopardize U.S. jobs. The lack of more robust domestic energy production is a failure of Congress and the Administration. Legislation intended to punish energy companies for the government’s failure is misguided, unwarranted, and ultimately counterproductive.

http://www.chamberp...940_S953_Senate.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-s-940-oppose
S. 953: Offshore Production and Safety Act of 2011

S. 953 would be an important step towards addressing domestic energy production. The bill would bring a much-needed end to the de facto moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration and could create tens of thousands of jobs, many for American oil and gas employees who have lost their jobs due to the moratorium. Moreover, the legislation would expand opportunities for firms to produce more energy in the U.S. in an environmentally responsible manner. The Chamber supported similar legislation that was approved in the House with bipartisan support.

http://www.chamberp...940_S953_Senate.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-s-953-support
H.R. 910: Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011

Two years ago, gasoline prices rapidly rose to more than $4 per gallon, causing financial hardship and spurring outrage from citizens across America.

The situation led to calls — from taxpayers and politicians alike — for comprehensive solutions to improve America’s energy security. When the gas costs subsided, however, the issue of energy security faded from the public and political spotlight.

Unfortunately, the issue has been thrust back into the spotlight because of the EPA’s efforts to issue a host of new regulations that would further drive up the price of energy for American consumers and job creators at a time when gas prices are already spiking and job creation remains weak.

Congress should pursue commonsense solutions to address greenhouse gas emissions. Recently, the House took the first step in resolving the extent of EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act by voting to pass the Energy Tax Protection Act, a policy that will bring about regulatory certainty and protect American jobs.

http://www.votervoi...mp;VV_CULTURE=en-us

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-910-support
H.R. 1231: Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act

H.R. 1229, H.R. 1230, and H.R. 1231 are a major step in the right direction for the nation’s energy policy. These bills would ensure that offshore exploration permit decisions are more transparent and made in a reasonable time, legal challenges are heard fairly and expeditiously, and the Department would no longer be allowed to slow-walk the offshore leasing process. They would help ease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and—most importantly— put Americans back to work. In testimony before the Committee, Dr. Mason estimated that the bills could have “substantial job benefits,” creating up to 250,000 short-term jobs during the exploration and development phase and 1.2 million long-term jobs during the production phase.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline is now hovering close to $4. The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy recently launched a Web site, www.voicesforaffordableenergy.com, which features the stories of businesses and consumers who are strapped by soaring prices. In responding to this critical issue for American consumers, Congress should take the long-term step of increasing domestic oil and gas production as set forth in H.R. 1229, 1230 and 1231. Doing so would create jobs while enhancing the nation’s energy security, a “win-win” by any measure.

http://www.uschambe...ploration_House.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-1231-support
H.R. 1230: Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act

H.R. 1229, H.R. 1230, and H.R. 1231 are a major step in the right direction for the nation’s energy policy. These bills would ensure that offshore exploration permit decisions are more transparent and made in a reasonable time, legal challenges are heard fairly and expeditiously, and the Department would no longer be allowed to slow-walk the offshore leasing process. They would help ease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and—most importantly— put Americans back to work. In testimony before the Committee, Dr. Mason estimated that the bills could have “substantial job benefits,” creating up to 250,000 short-term jobs during the exploration and development phase and 1.2 million long-term jobs during the production phase.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline is now hovering close to $4. The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy recently launched a Web site, www.voicesforaffordableenergy.com, which features the stories of businesses and consumers who are strapped by soaring prices. In responding to this critical issue for American consumers, Congress should take the long-term step of increasing domestic oil and gas production as set forth in H.R. 1229, 1230 and 1231. Doing so would create jobs while enhancing the nation’s energy security, a “win-win” by any measure.

http://www.uschambe...ploration_House.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-1230-support
H.R. 1229: Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act

H.R. 1229, H.R. 1230, and H.R. 1231 are a major step in the right direction for the nation’s energy policy. These bills would ensure that offshore exploration permit decisions are more transparent and made in a reasonable time, legal challenges are heard fairly and expeditiously, and the Department would no longer be allowed to slow-walk the offshore leasing process. They would help ease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and—most importantly— put Americans back to work. In testimony before the Committee, Dr. Mason estimated that the bills could have “substantial job benefits,” creating up to 250,000 short-term jobs during the exploration and development phase and 1.2 million long-term jobs during the production phase.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline is now hovering close to $4. The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy recently launched a Web site, www.voicesforaffordableenergy.com, which features the stories of businesses and consumers who are strapped by soaring prices. In responding to this critical issue for American consumers, Congress should take the long-term step of increasing domestic oil and gas production as set forth in H.R. 1229, 1230 and 1231. Doing so would create jobs while enhancing the nation’s energy security, a “win-win” by any measure.

http://www.uschambe...ploration_House.pdf

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
* The organization’s position on this bill was entered by POPVOX. Direct link to this position: https://www.popvox.com/orgs/uschamber#uschamber-hr-1229-support