A Chamber-led coalition has kicked off a four-city road show intended to stimulate a national discussion on key climate change issues and alternatives to currently proposed legislation. The Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth (AEEG) held its first event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on March 12. Similar events in Fargo, North Dakota; Billings, Montana; and Columbus, Ohio will take place throughout March.
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The Chamber ramped up its efforts to educate Congress on the need for a modern, safe and efficient transportation system. Chamber Director Janet Kavinoky testified on infrastructure needs and the role of transportation in the economy at a Senate hearing on March 11. On the same day, the Chamber submitted written comments in support of the Department of Transportation's Cross-Border Truck Pilot Program.
The Chamber's Christopher Wenk, senior director for international policy, testified before Congress on how climate change legislation would affect U.S. products in international markets, and what role developing nations should play in reducing global emissions.
"Without question, there are serious trade implications to the current debate over the various climate change proposals on the table that should give everyone pause," Wenk told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality during the March 5 hearing.
The U.S. Chamber is urging members of the Senate to make comprehensive, long-term Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization legislation a priority this year.
Such a bill "will help provide the resources necessary to help our country meet the current and growing demands being placed on the aviation system," according to a March 5 letter to members of Congress that was signed by the Chamber and 35 aviation and business organizations.
The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy has identified the top 10 rules that should be reviewed and reformed as part of the office's Regulatory Review and Reform (r3) initiative. The agency narrowed down the list from more than 80 "constructive" suggestions from small businesses.
Rules imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency top the list, including those pertaining to air monitoring for dry cleaners, protective drinking water standards, solid waste recycling, and oil spills.
Lawmakers Introduce Anti-Immigration Bills
March 11, 2008—In February, employers cut 63,000 jobs, fueling fears of a recession. The ISM retreated in February, thus, manufacturing activity is contracting. Factory orders fell as firms pulled back on capital expenditures, while productivity growth continued in the 4th quarter. Some relief may be at hand in the housing market, as the index for pending home sales remained steady from December to January.
Most Americans have decided that climate change is happening and that human activity is a contributing factor. Today, the real debate is over what to do about it. Policymakers and the public have a range of views about how we should respond to climate change—and so does the business community.
Where does the Chamber stand, and how are we approaching this debate?
Dr. Martin Regalia's Econ 101 will return next month.
By Merrill Matthews, Ph.D., Executive Director, Council for Affordable Health Insurance
Rising health care costs and-consequently-the large number of uninsured have become two of the most prominent public policy issues in the presidential campaign. Before politicians attempt to "solve" the problem, they should first understand what is driving it.
March 4, 2008—GDP growth slowed to a crawl in the 4th quarter, as did personal income growth in January. Producer prices for finished goods increased in January while orders for durable goods fell, and trouble continues in the housing market.
Health Reform Bills Fail to Advance
A variety of legislative proposals recommended by a special Maui health care panel died last week after failing to clear a key House committee ahead of its deadline. Included among the measures was a business-supported tort reform bill that would have capped noneconomic damages at $500,000 for high risk specialties, and it would have put a limit on catastrophic damages at $3 million.
Source: The Maui News
By Thomas J. Donohue, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Primaries in Texas and Ohio today could determine the Democratic nominee for president. For many voters, the election will be a referendum on free trade, particularly the North American Free Trade Agreement.
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In a victory for the Chamber and its members, the House overwhelmingly approved a bill to extend a trade program with Andean countries.
Vision, Good People, Passion
By Thomas F. McLarty III
Throughout my life, I've had the great fortune of being involved in a fourth-generation family business, first working with my late father who was a mentor and partner and now with my two sons.
There are a number of changes for tax year 2007 that small business owners need to take into account.
Increased Section 179 limits. The maximum Section 179 deduction for property placed in service in 2007 is $125,000. Under a new law recently signed by the president (see cover story), Section 179 expensing allowances will double to $250,000 for 2008.
Domestic production activities deduction. This deduction percentage increases from 3% to 6%.