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Posted at 2:26 PM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Strange bedfellows: U.S. Chamber and AFL-CIO may team up against House GOP infrastructure cuts

By Greg Sargent

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO -- two powerful players that are often at each other's throats -- are considering teaming up for a campaign against the House GOP's planned cuts to infrastructure spending, spokespeople for both groups tell me.

The two groups rarely agree on anything, and frequently target each other in the harshest of terms, but one thing they agree on is that they don't want the House GOP to make good on its threat to subject highway and mass-transit programs to budget cuts. GOP leaders announced earlier this week that such cuts could not be taken off the table in the quest to slice up to $100 billion in spending.

The prospect of deep infrastructure cuts may now lead to the unlikely sight of the Chamber and the huge labor federation, both of which boast powerful and well-funded political operations, teaming up to campaign against the House GOP's plans. The Chamber -- a staunch ally of House Republicans that spent millions in the 2010 elections -- has already been pushing back against cuts to highway spending because it could lead to more job losses in the construction industry.

"We'd welcome the AFL-CIO joining us in those efforts," Janet Kavinoky, the executive director of the Chamber, tells me.

Eddie Vale, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO, is also on board for a collaborative effort. "The Republican's current proposals to slash investments in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure will cripple our economic recovery and we look forward to the Chamber helping us to protect these jobs," he says.

There's some precedent for such collaborations. The two groups have worked before on campaigns to secure more federal funding for various highway projects and on prison reform efforts.

If such a collaboration does take place, it could draw more attention to opposition to such GOP budget cuts, because the press loves "strange bedfellows" stories and the prospect of longtime foes teaming up could dramatize how extensive opposition is to this aspect of the GOP agenda.

On the other hand, House Republicans could point to it as proof that they're not afraid to take on powerful special interests even when they have been very helpful to the GOP, as the Chamber has been. Either way, it suggests the battle over spending could get very nasty.

By Greg Sargent  | January 6, 2011; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  House GOPers, budget  
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Next: Dems sharpen message for health repeal fight


Why have all The Tea Party rabble suddenly become mutes?


"Repeal of Health Care Bill Would Cost $230 Billion
A Congressional Budget Office estimate suggests that the Republican plan to repeal the new health care law would increase the deficit by $230 billion by 2021. The analysis also finds that fewer Americans would have health insurance and those who purchase in the individual market would pay more.

Politico: "The House Rules Committee meets today on the health repeal legislation with a procedural vote scheduled tomorrow and a floor vote next Wednesday. The new Republican rules will say that no bills can pass if they add to the deficit, but Republicans are making an exception to their own rules for the repeal bill." "

Posted by: Liam-still | January 6, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

More proof that The Tea Party were just a bunch of Stupid Koch Suckers. Be sure the read the entire article. They have a video interview of him posted.


"It’s interesting that Koch, who inherited his wealth from his father’s oil company and is now worth $21.5 billion dollars, considers himself just another “normal” Tea Party member. Despite the myth that the Tea Party represents some kind of “spontaneous” uprising of middle class voters, many of the drivers of the movement come from America’s wealthy elite. Millionaire Steve Forbes and corporate lobbyist Dick Armey own the other significant Tea Party organizing group, FreedomWorks. Cliff Asness, a wealthy hedge fund manager who attended several Republican planning meetings and Koch’s secret meeting last June, considers himself a card-carrying member of the Tea Party movement.

Despite the Tea Party veneer, Koch and other wealthy businessmen have a self-interested reason to invest in anti-government movements and Republican politicians. Koch funneled large amounts of donations into electing George Bush in 2000 (even sending Koch-linked lobbyists to help disrupt the Florida recount). At the time, Koch Industries faced 97-count federal indictment charging it with concealing illegal releases of 91 metric tons of benzene, known to cause leukemia, from its refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas. When Bush took office, his Justice Department dropped 88 of the charges and settled the case for a small amount of money. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Koch front groups largely dictated Bush’s environmental regulatory policy and Koch lobbyists gained appointments to key environmental regulatory position in the administration. "

Posted by: Liam-still | January 6, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Remember, the Chamber backed the stimulus.

Ask the teahadists if they still support the Chamber and all you'll get are shrugs.

Oh and OT but it explains why Huffington Post became so drudge like in its misleading content and its attempt to split the Democratic voters from day one this admin took over.

Glenn Beck Hires Former Huffington Post Chief

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 6, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh. If the freshmen alienate the chamber & don't bring home porkalicious infrastructure spending, how are they going to fill their reelection campaign chests?

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 6, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Liam, I think its great Koch got booed at that event in NY recently.

The guy is a complete scumbag. His donations to WETA and other public broadcasting stations should be turned down. The guy is literally a cancer to this country as thousands of Americans die because of the pollutants his company generates.

He is the epitome of evil.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 6, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Well if gubmint can't create jobs, only rich people can create jobs (doing God's work for Him), can one of you 'necks tell me why the CoC is worried about America's infrastructure? Don't bother.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse


Is "'neck" short for "redneck"?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 6, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The CBO estimate is iffy at best. CBO says as much in its own letter:

"The projections of the bill’s budgetary impact are quite uncertain, both because CBO has not completed a detailed estimate of the effects of H.R. 2 and because assessing the effects of making broad changes in the nation’s health care and health insurance systems—or of reversing scheduled changes—requires assumptions about a broad array of technical, behavioral, and economic factors"

Posted by: NoVAHockey | January 6, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this is a dumb question, but this story forces me to ask: why has the Chamber been so staunchly pro-Republican in recent years? They spent millions getting these guys elected only to spend more millions on a campaign to reign in their budget-cutting efforts? That makes no sense and I'm sure the story will be the same when the GOP House wants to cut R&D spending.

Perhaps the question is what is it about Dems they so oppose? Again, beginning with the stimulus, Dems have enacted a number of measures that have been favorable to the business community. Is it all opposition to regulation? Taxes?

Posted by: jbossch | January 6, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@Troll; "Is ''neck' short for 'redneck'?"

It's an epithet attacking George Lucas, and Shrink2 (it is well known in some circles) has stalked Lucas mercilessly for years, and will continue to do so until **Howard the Duck** is finally released on Blu-Ray. At least, that's what I've heard.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 6, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Is it all opposition to regulation? Taxes?"


Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"Is it all opposition to regulation? Taxes?"

We have a bingo!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 6, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse


Thanks.  My mouth breathing, knuckle-dragging and farmers tan effects my abbreviation comprehension.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 6, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

But don't spend too much time under that project car Troll, you can't afford the entry fee to the figure 8 race anyway.

Posted by: shrink2 | January 6, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse


That's pretty standard boilerplate stuff, not unlike what I've seen from CBO in the past. Reading that passage further, they indicate that the projections are equally likely to be higher or lower.

Also, a detailed analysis in conjunction with the Joint Committee on Taxation was not complete, as indicated, and that analysis would be more likely to be more accurate.

As per the PDF:

"""Because Congressional deliberations on H.R. 2 could begin very soon, CBO is providing in this letter a less-detailed preliminary analysis of that legislation."""


Isn't it ironic that Republicans have been screaming about "ramming bills down our throats" when they wouldn't even wait for the CBO and JCT to conduct a detailed analysis of their own bill?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | January 6, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | January 6, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

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