Civil Rights 16363 votes (1.92%)
As Congress was discussing the creation of a national holiday to honor the revered civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, the US Chamber of Commerce could only focus on the cost of the holiday to corporations, releasing a study that claimed it would cost businesses $4.3 billion (nearly ten billion in today's money) and warning that cost could be passed on to the "American family", an argument then used by senators fighting against the holiday. In contrast, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office had estimated the cost at only $18 million.
In addition, the US Chamber of Commerce opposed key parts of the Civil Rights Act and lobbied against the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Climate Change 63385 votes (7.43%)
The US Chamber of Commerce has sided with polluters in declaring an all-out war on the science of climate change, to the point of calling for a "Scopes Monkey Trial" in an attempt to get carbon emissions declared harmless. The head of the Chamber has argued that the real danger isn't from carbon pollution but giving the EPA the power to regulate it, which would put us in "deep shit as a country."
When the EPA decided to regulate carbon emissions because they posed a threat to public health and welfare, the U.S. Chamber sued the government over its ability to regulate greenhouse gases, using "selectively edited, out-of-context data and a manufactured controversy" in an attempt to undermine the science of climate change. The Chamber filed the challenge on behalf of the biggest carbon polluters in the country in an attempt to keep their greenhouse emissions regulated as little as possible.
The Chamber went on to argue that even if global warming was real, "populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations" and that climate change would be "beneficial to humans".
The Chamber isn't satisfied with attacking the EPA; it wants to push its propaganda into classrooms across the country. Last year it paid Scholastic Inc., an educational book-publishing company, to distribute curriculum materials on energy written by the coal industry to 100,000 4th-grade classrooms across the country, lauding the coal and fossil fuel industries.
Conflict Minerals 15529 votes (1.82%)
The Chamber of Commerce thinks it's a burden on companies to have to trace where their raw materials originate, and instead prefers to turn a blind eye to violence against people mining minerals in the Congo and surrounding regions. It opposes a provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform Act that would "require companies to disclose annually whether they use any 'conflict minerals' such as tantalum, tin, gold, or tungsten from the Democratic Republic of the Congo", and have threatened a lawsuit to block it.
Corporate Greed 95227 votes (11.16%)
The US Chamber of Commerce has a track record of standing up for big business at the expense of ordinary workers. They successfully lobbied to win an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the one percent while simultaneously fighting every effort to increase the minimum wage for hourly workers because they believe it would be bad for business. Meanwhile Tom Donohue, CEO of the Chamber, made $4.7 million in 2010.
Beyond making sure that CEOs can earn more but hourly employees can't, the Chamber has spent at least $3 million to undermine the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which aims to protect consumers from another economic collapse. The Chamber wants your social security money to be controlled by investors who crashed the economy, but it is happy to have government intervention when it comes to subsidies for oil, coal and gas companies. The Chamber also promoted "tax holidays" for big business that then turned around and made even more money by sending jobs overseas.
Corruption 15455 votes (1.81%)
The US Chamber of Commerce is fighting to water down the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act under which companies can be prosecuted for bribing overseas officials.
Environment 79390 votes (9.3%)
The US Chamber protects polluters who pump our water, air and land full of harmful chemicals.
After the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf, the U.S. Chamber tried to force US taxpayers to shoulder a greater part of the burden of cleaning up the oil spill in order to minimize BP's liability, then was one of the first voices calling to re-open our shores to drilling.
The Chamber sided with GE in an attempt to loosen EPA authority power over the clean-up of hazardous waste sites, worked for oil and mining companies that wanted to dig up federal land, tried to weaken government rules on smog, lobbied to prevent regulations of chemicals known to cause birth defects, and supports fracking, a process of natural gas extraction that seriously pollutes drinking water.
The Financial Crisis 109223 votes (12.8%)
In the run-up to the financial crisis, the US Chamber was a cheerleader for less government oversight and relaxed laws. In the months after the collapse of Enron, WorldCom and other corporations resulted in losses in the hundreds of billions, the Chamber led the charge for even led the charge for even fewer regulations on the financial sector, sought lighter sentences for those involved in Enron's collapse, and said that in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals, business should "stop apologizing for being the one institution in America that really works." The Chamber sued the SEC twice to block implementation of a rule that would try to prevent mutual funds from going out of control. While AIG was under investigation for financial irregularities that would result in a $1.5 billion fine, the Chamber took more than $20 million from a foundation controlled by the AIG CEO to lobby for less government oversight. The US Chamber lobbied Washington for bank bailouts, then turned around and spent millions attacking politicians because they had voted for it. After the financial crisis, the US Chamber spent millions fighting the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Health care reform 62962 votes (7.38%)
The US Chamber of Commerce poured tens of millions of dollars into the health care debate on the side of big insurance companies, spending $24 million in one month alone, often on ads that used specious claims such as citing an insurance industry-funded study that claimed health care reform would cause 88 million Americans to lose their coverage.
This isn't an anomaly: the Chamber has consistently come down on the side of big business against the health interests of the average American. In 2009 the Chamber fought against the reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program, arguing that it was "grossly unfair to big businesses." That same year it lobbied against an emergency sick leave provision to help combat swine flu. The year before, the Chamber lobbied to protect insurance company profits by forcing consumers to pay more out-of-pocket fees. And the year before that, the Chamber had promised to wage an "all-out war" against paid family leave. Year in and year out, the US Chamber of Commerce sides with big insurance companies to strip rights away from sick Americans.
Intellectual Property 31610 votes (3.7%)
The US Chamber wants our government to be able to permanently block any website deemed guilty of "inducing" copyright infringement, without a hearing. The definition for "inducing" is broad enough to cover websites that allow users to post links to copywritten material such as images, music or YouTube videos. The law would bring about a new age of self-censorship online, in which websites aggressively police user content to avoid being blacklisted at a company's request, and would permanently alter many popular websites. It has been dubbed the "end of the internet as we know it."
The head of Google, Eric Schmidt, has called the Protect IP Act "draconian" and said it would set a "disastrous precedent" for free speech. In addition, the Act is opposed by the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, eBay, American Express, Reporters without Borders and Human Rights Watch.
Invasion of privacy 15750 votes (1.85%)
In 2010, a law firm representing the US Chamber discussed creating fake personas to infiltrate left-leaning organizations and hack their members' social media profiles in order to gather dirt on their families.
Keystone XL Pipeline 15946 votes (1.87%)
The US Chamber has aggressively lobbied for the Keystone XL pipeline using misleading facts and blatantly false job figures while covering over the first Keystone pipeline's record of twelve spills in one year.
LGBT Rights 15351 votes (1.8%)
In its 2011 report on the business friendliness of US states, the Chamber of Commerce rated Washington State "poor", citing that:
"Seattle has long been known as one of the more socially liberal cities in the country and it prohibits employment discrimination on a number of grounds beyond the state's already broad prohibitions. The Seattle Office for Civil Rights enforces the city's prohibitions against employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, martial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, age, creed, religion, ancestry, national origin, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory mental or physical handicap."
To the US Chamber, policies that prevent discrimination on the basis of race, religion and gender identity are just examples of liberalism run amok.
Access to Medicines 15696 votes (1.84%)
Especially in the era of AIDS, millions are dying without access to treatment because it’s simply too expensive -- which is why the World Trade Organization has granted developing countries the right to manufacture generic medicines domestically if the name-brand versions are unaffordable. In 2004, the US government was negotiating a trade deal with Thailand, a country that was working to produce or import generic versions of name-brand medications to save the lives of its citizens. The US Chamber of Commerce stated publicly during the debate over the trade deal that in order to get its support any deal would have to force Thailand to stop importing or producing those medicines -- the profits of Big Pharma were more important than the lives of poor people in Thailand.
Net neutrality 15997 votes (1.87%)
The US Chamber of Commerce is attempting to overturn net neutrality, attacking it as a "new, burdensome regulatory regime." If net neutrality is overturned, a small handful of corporations would be able to control which websites you are able access and how quickly they run, threatening the era of the open internet.
Partisanship 31527 votes (3.69%)
The US Chamber of Commerce operates as a slush fund for corporations looking to influence politics. Corporate gifts are unlimited and the Chamber even takes money from foreign corporations. Though the Chamber claims to be issue-oriented, 93% of its money goes either to supporting Republicans or attacking Democrats and it works closely with Karl Rove and the Koch brothers. The Chamber began campaigning against Democrats an entire year before the November 2012 elections.
"Pay to Play" Politics 63821 votes (7.48%)
At every turn, the US Chamber of Commerce has advocated for corporations to be allowed to influence politicians through unlimited, anonymous donations. They successfully lobbied the Supreme Court to rule in favor of Citizens United, opening the floodgates for unlimited corporate election spending. The head of the US Chamber has summed up his position by saying "People seem to listen to you more when you've got a bagful of cash," which is probably why they go around bragging that they're "consistently leading the pack in lobbying expenditures." In 2009, the US Chamber spent over five times more than any other lobbying group. The Chamber spent $132 million in 2010 alone on lobbying expenses, and even collected "charitable" donations from multinational corporations to pay for political ads during American elections.
Suing the Government 15612 votes (1.83%)
The Chamber has its own law firm that it claims operates in the "public interest", yet it uses the firm to sue the federal government 150 times a year in order to fight regulations on big business.
Women's rights 63740 votes (7.47%)
The US Chamber has consistently opposed legislation to equalize pay for men and women. It has fought against the Equal Pay Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,the Paycheck Fairness Act and sided with Wal-Mart in the largest gender discrimination case in history.
The Chamber claims that the gender gap in wages is due to women leaving the workforce to raise families, but the Chamber has also worked to make life more difficult for working mothers. First, the Chamber once opposed an amendment to the Civil Rights Act to prohibit job discrimination due to pregnancy on the basis that pregnancy is a "voluntary" condition. Second, the Chamber has announced that it will wage a self-declared "all-out war" against paid family leave, because it will "give employees an incentive to use it." Finally, the Chamber blamed women's desire for equal pay on having a "fetish for money" and said they should instead focus on "choosing the right partner at home."
In addition, the Chamber of Commerce opposed an amendment by Senator Al Franken that would withhold defense contracts to companies that prevent victims from filing lawsuits alleging sexual harassment or assault.
Workers Rights 31525 votes (3.69%)
The Chamber of Commerce promoted outsourcing as a way to help the economy, while its president told the 250,000 laid-off workers affected by it annually that they should "stop whining". It works against rules that make it easier to form a union and those allowing workers killed offshore, like those in the BP oil disaster, to sue for damages.