U.S. Chamber of Commerce ups opposition to Obama regulations

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 22, 2011 6:10 PM
U.S. Chamber of Commerce ups opposition to Obama regulations

By Alister Bull

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A powerful U.S. business lobby group on Wednesday launched a campaign against what it called President Barack Obama's "avalanche" of new regulations and warned these were costing American jobs.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said hundreds of new rules, panels, agencies and commissions being implemented under healthcare and financial reform signed by Obama represent the largest wave of regulation witnessed in U.S. history.

Obama's hopes for re-election in 2012 depend heavily on his success in easing high U.S. unemployment, and the chamber, which funded scores of ads against his Democrats in congressional elections last year, hammered home the point about hiring.

"Is this the right time to add an additional economic burden to struggling businesses and workers," said Evan Bayh, a former Democratic senator from Indiana who is helping the chamber press home its message.

The chamber fought a bitter campaign against the reforms, claiming they have created much uncertainty in the business community which is delaying job-creating investment, and made plain it would carry this fight into the election season.

"We're going to tell the story to the American people about the massive costs of procedural defects and excessive regulations,' said the chamber's head of government affairs Bruce Josten.

The chamber paid for millions of dollars worth of political advertising last year on behalf of wealthy business members.

Campaign finance watchdogs estimate around $130 million in secret campaign donations were funneled into the 2010 congressional race, and expect that number to soar next year.

The Chamber said the new financial laws have spawned over 500 new rules and the healthcare reforms created 159 new agencies, commissions and panels.

Bayh will partner with Andrew Card, a former White House chief of staff for Republican President George W Bush, in a national roadshow to campaign against the new rules that kicks off in Wisconsin, West Virginia, Illinois and Georgia.

"There is one law that Congress has not been able to repeal and that is the law of unintended consequences," Card told a news conference hosted at the chamber to launch their effort.

The chamber, which speaks on behalf of hundreds of U.S. businesses both large and small, said the proposed regulations would add thousands of dollars per worker in administrative costs to employers and was driving jobs overseas.

It also dismissed recent efforts by the Obama administration to cut regulatory red tape as insufficient .

"We don't think it...does much at all," said Josten.

(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)