- Affordable Health Care
The United States has the world's best health care but a wasteful and inefficient system for delivering that care. Five consecutive years of double-digit premium increases have hit the business community hard, especially small firms. An estimated 45 million Americans lack health insurance. Access to affordable coverage is our highest health care-related priority.
- Education Reform and Workforce Development
We strongly support federal legislation that recognizes and builds upon state and local initiatives to improve education. Any legislation must include these essential principles: Student Achievement, Assessment, Continuous Improvement, School Safety, Sanctions for Failing Schools, Teacher Preparation, High Standards, and Public Information. We commend the administration and Congress for making quality education a top priority and seeking bipartisan support for reform.
- Energy Reliability and Security
Energy powers our economy and our lives without it, we are quite literally in the dark. Passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 was a critical first step toward securing America's energy, economic, and national security. However, policy alone cannot overcome the energy challenges that we face as a nation. Without access to affordable and reliable supplies of energy in the United States, U.S. businesses are forced to move elsewhere, taking U.S. jobs and support for the economy with them and impacting our global competitiveness. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to addressing America's energy challenges and finding ways to solve them.
- Labor and Workforce
Oppose expanding workplace laws and craft alternatives when necessary. Aggressively oppose union-backed proposals to increase the minimum wage and abolish secret ballot elections in favor of card check majorities for union recognition. Oppose any efforts to expand Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave or mandate paid sick leave. Block attempts to increase penalties for criminal violations of OSHA. Continue to expose unreasonable union organization tactics such as salting and corporate campaigns. Protect the use of binding arbitration in employment. Aggressively advocate for pro-employer provisions in priority international labor and employment policy proposals. Continue to push for a reasonable application of the revised Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines.
- Small Business
Administration reauthorization bill that would support strong and stable SBA 7(a) and 504 lending programs. Oppose legislation and regulations that would close the IRS tax gap by placing excessive paperwork and withholding burdens on compliant small business taxpayers.
- Trade Expansion
The Chamber leads a two-front battle to knock down trade barriers abroad and keep our markets open at home. Trade is no longer a luxury. It is in the vital self-interest of our nation. One-third of our economy is now trade dependent. Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers live outside the United States. Free trade critics are right on one score: too many markets abroad remain unfair and closed to American goods and services.