President Obama’s first formal speech to the U.S Chamber of Commerce on Monday came, in part, as an attempt to emphasize business-friendly policies despite differences between the administration and the nation’s largest business federation. Abiding to his agenda of investing in green energy and infrastructure, the President’s diction somewhat defused tensions with the Chamber by addressing topics they can both agree on, job creation and economic growth.
With a proposal to increase federal spending by $50 billion on transportaion infrastructure in the upcoming year, the task of persuading Republicans who oppose government spending projects was not expected to be an easy feat. However, the Chamber reacted in support of the President’s plans to start rebuilding outdated and inadequate infrastructure throughout the country–a major indication of progress and employment opportunity for thousands of Americans to come.
“Whether it is building roads, bridges, high-speed broadband, energy systems and schools, these projects not only create jobs and demand for businesses, they are an investment in building the modern infrastructure our country needs to compete in a global economy,” according to a joint statement released by US Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Furthermore, “With the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO standing together to support job creation, we hope that Democrats and Republicans in Congress will also join together to build America’s infrastructure.”
Encouraging spending for the sake of the country’s workers and the environment is especially critical right now. While U.S. corporations have seen considerable profits in the last year, the unemployment rate has remained at 9 percent or higher for the longest stretch of time in history. While the US Chamber has hassled the President about healthcare and climate legislation it opposed, the Chamber has countributed millions to back Republicans in the 2010 congressional elections.
In spite of these tensions, the President continues to appeal for national unity, especially on ambitious green energy, technology and infrastructure goals. The Chamber’s reaction in support of these investments, thus far, is a good sign. Assuaging tensions, enouraging investment, and providing incentives are laying the foundations for new developments that will most effectively benefit the future of business, employment, and the environment.
US Chamber info: www.uschamber.com
President Obama’s Speech to the US Chamber can be found at www.whitehouse.gov