U.S. Chamber finds common cause with unions on immigration
An agreement between the national business lobby and the AFL-CIO was crucial to passing immigration reform in the U.S. Senate, says U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue, who spoke today at a breakfast hosted by BRAC. Unions are looking for new members, Donohue says, while businesses need both laborers and highly skilled workers. "There are so many people in this country who say, 'We don't want to let those people in,'" he says. "Who the hell do you think you are? You are 'those people.' Your forefathers came as 'those people.' And demographics is destiny, and we need them." Donohue says the House doesn't need to pass a "comprehensive reform," suggesting problems could be fixed in smaller bills. "Take the whole thing, go to conference with the Senate, and we'll build a bill," he says. "The borders are secure. We are so far down the road of closing off a lot of the people coming across the border," he said in an interview with Daily Report following his address. "We have to legalize people that are here. You can't send them home. You send home 12 million workers, you're going to crater this economy." In comments during and after his speech, Donohue railed against federal energy policy, called for comprehensive tax reform and higher "user fees"—in other words gasoline taxes—to pay for road and bridge improvements. He added the U.S. Chamber has a good relations with both Louisiana senators, Democrat Mary Landrieu and Republican David Vitter. "Sen. Landrieu has been particularly helpful on a couple of these issues," he says. —David Jacobs
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