U.S. Business' Agenda For The 109th Congress

By John S. McClenahen American business has wasted no time in making clear what it wants from the 109th U.S. Congress, which convened earlier this week. Three items are common to the multi-issue legislative agendas of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, three of the most powerful business lobbies in Washington, D.C. Those items are: tort reform (curbing lawsuit abuse, especially class-action suits); trade liberalization (including completion of Doha Round of world trade negotiations); and Social Security reform (including a personal savings account option for younger workers). In addition, "we need energy policies that increase supply, improve efficiency and reduce dependence on foreign sources," says John Engler, NAM's president "And we need to continue moving away from costly command-and-control regulation by ensuring that sound science and economic analyses drive all regulatory actions." Notably absent from the lists is the kind of fundamental tax reform that the Bush Administration once talked about.

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