As promised, House Minority Leader John Boehner, along with Reps. Aaron Schock (R-IL) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), huddled this morning with representatives of the most powerful conservative business and trade groups in the country to field policy ideas and build a legislative agenda ahead of the November elections, when Republicans could retake the House. If what they discussed in any way resembles the coming GOP platform (and, of course, it does), then get ready for more tax cuts and deregulation.
Dan Danner of the National Federation of Independent Businesses spoke up, outraged about “a whole host of new proposed regulations that are going to add costs to…business.”
All the invitees, which also included the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and several others, were in broad agreement over steps they hope the government takes if Republicans regain power. Many of them once supported President Obama’s stimulus plan, but now want to go back to the way things were.
“Whether it’s OSHA, EPA, Wage and Hour,” Danner said, “they see all those as new costs and new hindrances to them as a business owner.”
Marlene Colucci of the American Hotel and Lodging Association complained that “auditors can come in, look at your workplace, and if they find, let’s say, an OSHA violation, then they can go and find what other violations might exist.”
Yes, law enforcement officers investigating companies’ legal violations were part of the complaints lobbyists brought to the GOP.
“It’s almost, like, you know, the police are in front of the building that’s being looted but they’re worried about expired meters, and giving parking tickets, while we’re being looted,” Colucci said to a receptive Boehner.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association advocated for a lower corporate tax rate, while warning against replacing it with a value-added tax.
Last week, Republicans were caught with their pants down when news of today’s meeting was first reported. Democrats howled and pressed Republicans to let cameras into the room. Republicans agreed. That undoubtedly added to the scripted nature of the event. But the attendees weren’t shy about their prescriptions, and the hosts were happy to continue soliciting them.
“We’ll continue to stay in touch with all of you,” Boehner said.
You can watch the entire roundtable discussion below.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.