MOBILIZING BUSINESS SUPPORT for Immigration Bill
Immigration Bill’s Supporters Call on
Business Groups to Pressure G.O.P.
By Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker
New York Times, July 19, 2013
Mainstream U.S. business organizations and lobby groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Business Roundtable were key supporters of the immigration reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate on June 27, 2013 (S.R. 744: the "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” sponsored by the “Gang of Eight”).
Such support could be even more crucial to eventual passage of compatible legistlation by the more reluctant House of Representatives. Pro-immigration-reform politicians such as “Gang of Eight” member Senator John McCain are, in essence, lobbying for business lobbyists to lobby for votes from his Republican counterparts in the House. There the G.O.P. is in the majority, and McCain wants business groups “to weigh in…because we advertise ourselves as the party of business.”
This push for a business push faces two key obstacles. First, if the House proceeds, as expected, with “piecemeal” bills instead of a single comprehensive bill, it will be more difficult to sustain a unified “holistic momentum” from, for instance, high tech firms “strongly backing expansion of visas for skilled workers” and “agribusiness and service industries most interested in guest worker programs.”
Second, in the quoted words of Representative Mick Mulvaney (Republican of South Carolina) “The days of the Chamber of Commerce being the gold standard” with the Republican base “may be coming to an end if they aren’t already in the past.”
“Indeed, when they have had the chance, Republicans have relished the opportunity to strike a populist stance against big business,” due, in part, to a belief that (in the quoted words of Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, member of the House Republican leadership), “the [Obama] administration represents big business.”
John Feinblatt (policy adviser for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, chair of Partnership for a New American Economy) “said his group has drawn up a list of roughly 40 House Republicans to watch, and the group plans to mobilize in 14 states…during the August recess."
“ ‘The bottom line is, this is not a fight that’s going to be won in Washington,’ Mr. Feinblatt said. ‘It’s going to be won in districts across the country as representatives hear from local business owners, from local chambers of commerce, from job creators at home, all saying that passing immigration legislation is crucial to the success of their local economy.’ ”