Tags: business | groups | tea | party

Business Groups to Challenge Tea Party Influence

Monday, 16 Sep 2013 12:20 PM

By Dan Weil

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Business groups have apparently decided to become more active in GOP congressional primaries in an effort to blunt the influence of tea party ideology, which some view as a danger to Republicans.

According to the Hill, organizations like the National Retail Federation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce want to ensure that their voices are heard on issues ranging from immigration reform, which they support, to raising the debt ceiling, which they also support to keep the economy moving.

The newspaper reports that the business groups are focusing on conservative organizations like the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, which are taking an active role in backing tea party challengers in GOP primaries across the country.

"I think that some of the people on the far right of the Republican Party have created an agenda that is detrimental to Republicans who are trying to make this economy stronger and trying to help the business community get economic growth up over 3-3.5 percent so we can start to hire people," U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue told The Hill.

"We're just trying to get to people who have some sense of what we're trying to do on the economy and business."

The chamber for its part plans to donate money to candidates in "10s" of primaries. Last year, the chamber was involved in only two primaries, Donohue noted.

David French, a senior director of government relations with the National Retail Federation, also told the publication that tea party activists seem to have more influence on Republican lawmakers than established business interests.

"There's a growing awareness that there's an anti-establishment bent to some of the ideological donors," he told The Hill, referring to tea party efforts backing more extreme conservatives over incumbent Republicans.

"There's collateral damage, so we're trying to reassert some sort of rational world order to get our agenda across the finish line."

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