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Senator McConnell Visits Chamber to Rally Support for Colombia FTA

Apr 30, 2008

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) kicked off World Trade Week by encouraging the U.S. Chamber and the Latin American Trade Coalition to continue the fight on the hill for a U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) during a meeting held May 19 at the Chamber headquarters. The meeting with McConnell came one day before over 300 Latin American Trade Coalition and other business representatives canvassed Capitol Hill to garner support for the Colombia FTA.

Housing Market Remains Weak

Apr 30, 2008

May 13, 2008—The housing market remains weak and despite many good deals, pending home sales data indicate that existing home sales will not recover in the next few months. The ISM nonmanufacturing index increased, indicating that the service sector is growing, while productivity growth continued in the 1st quarter.

Energy Prices Offer Mixed Benefits for State Economy

Apr 30, 2008

Businesses Split on Proposed Smoking Ban

A smoking ban in Michigan restaurants and bars wouldn't have the long-term negative impact on business that many owners fear it will, several restaurateurs predicted last week. But some still are unhappy that the state may be on the verge of imposing a ban. The Michigan Restaurant Association, an opponent of the ban, is especially unhappy about a possible exemption for American Indian-run casinos.
Source: Detroit Free Press

Congress Passes Chamber-Backed FACTA Clarification Bill

Apr 30, 2008

On Tuesday, May 20, the Senate passed legislation (H.R. 4008) supported by the U.S. Chamber that will amend the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) to make clear that a company is not in willful violation of the act if it shortens a consumer's credit card number printed on a receipt to four digits but does not remove the expiration date. The House passed the bill a week earlier.

House Panel Clears Extender Tax Bill

Apr 30, 2008

The House Ways and Means Committee on May 15 voted out legislation that would extend expired and soon-to-expire energy and business tax credits but would pay for those credits with tax increases on certain businesses.

In a letter to committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Ranking Member Jim McCrery (R-LA) the Chamber voiced its support for extending through 2008 the research and experimentation tax credit, tand he deduction of state and local general sales tax, among other tax provisions that expired at the end of 2007.

House Passes Intellectual Property Bill

Apr 30, 2008

The House on May 6 passed Chamber-supported legislation that would further crack down on intellectual property theft and piracy.

The "Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2007,"  or PRO-IP Act, would strengthen civil and criminal penalties against intellectual property theft and piracy, increase resources devoted to fighting IP crimes, and improve coordination of federal efforts.

Calling All Chamber Members: Come to Washington in Support of Trade

Apr 30, 2008

As part of World Trade Month, the U.S. Chamber and its grassroots trade education arm, TradeRoots, are asking members to join other concerned business leaders from across the nation in Washington D.C. on May 20 to voice their support for expanded free trade. The Chamber wants to let lawmakers know that their inaction on trade is putting U.S. businesses, especially small and mid-market businesses, at a disadvantage in the global marketplace. 

Chamber, Business Groups Oppose Anti-Arbitration Proposals

Apr 30, 2008

A coalition of major industry groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are opposing recent legislative efforts to chip away at the arbitration system by injecting anti-arbitration provisions in more than 11 industry-specific bills.

The May 1 letter sent to members of Congress points to a recent study by the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform, which found that 82% of those polled prefer arbitration to litigation as a means to settle disputes, and 71% of likely voters oppose efforts by Congress to remove arbitration agreements from consumer contracts.

Will Further Rate Cuts Spur Economic Growth?

Apr 30, 2008

May 6, 2008—As expected, the FOMC cut rates to 2% in an attempt to spur economic growth. The BEA released the first estimate for GDP on Wednesday, indicating higher-than-expected economic growth. While employers shed thousands of jobs in April, consumer confidence continued to decline. Last, as the ISM index remained unchanged in April, factory orders fell.

Disaster Help Desk Launched

Apr 30, 2008

The U.S. Chamber's Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) launched the National Disaster Help Desk for Business (888-MY-BIZ-HELP), a resource to enhance community economic recovery after a disaster.

"The Help Desk is designed to help businesses and local chambers recover from major disasters" says Stephen Jordan, BCLC executive director. "Our experts have years of experience working with local, state, and national authorities on these issues."

Energy Institute Starts Grassroots Effort Focused on Education, Solutions

Mar 31, 2008

Local chambers of commerce and business associations have an important role to play in the national energy debate, according to officials from the U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy.

During an April 29 conference call, Gen. Jim Jones (ret.) called on the 140 dial-in attendees to educate the public, Congress and other policymakers on "energy realities" and help the Institute form and implement a consensus comprehensive energy policy by 2030.


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