Chamber's Donohue: Obama Must Acknowledge Problem Regs

Tuesday, 08 Feb 2011 07:48 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue praised President Barack Obama for ordering a government-wide review of federal regulations but noted that the president should realize certain rules are causing “companies to sit on their money.” Obama made the comments Monday during an address to the chamber, a group with which he has had somewhat contentious relations.

Tom Donohue, Chamber of Commerce, Obama
Chamber President Tom Donohue
While telling Fox News’ Bret Baier he that he agrees that some regulation is necessary — particularly in the areas of food safety and air traffic control — Donohue followed by saying others were hurting business and stymieing job creation.

“I think as he goes forward, and really thinks about what's keeping companies from spending money and creating more jobs, he's going to want to take a look at some of the actions of some of the independent regulatory agencies, and some of the regulations that have come from the healthcare and capital market bills, and from the action of the EPA,” Donohue said. “Those are regulations that are causing companies to sit on their money and wait until they're more sure about what they're dealing with.”

Baier noted that, in his speech, Obama asked business to “get in the game” to battle unemployment and help create more jobs.

“Well, first of all, we all know business is in the game. That's how we have a $14 trillion economy. That's how we have hundreds of millions of people working,” Donohue said. “What the president is saying is he wants them to bring some of their money and create more jobs in the United States. And try and grow our manufacturing jobs.

“By the way, we are the second-largest — or occasionally the first-largest — country in the world in manufacturing,” he continued. “But we do it with such efficiency and technology, we're not using as many people as we used to. And we're going to work hard to create new jobs. I think the president raises a great challenge, but we have to look at it in context that 95 percent of the people in the world that we can sell something to live somewhere else.”

Baier recalled that during the 2010 congressional elections, Obama claimed the chamber was paying for ads with foreign money and asked whether the president’s “change in tone” means he has moved more toward the center. The Fox News host also pointed to the selection of former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley as his new chief of staff.

Responding to the foreign money charges, Donohue said it was just election politics and they were “fundamentally untrue.”

“This is a political town and we're back to doing our business,” he said. “I mean, if you remember what ran on the TV or in the paper six months ago … you're looking back, we got to get on with the business ahead. And I'm very concerned about a lot of the business ahead.”

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