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U.S. Economic Growth Tops Public-Policy Priorities

By John S. McClenahen As the Republican-controlled 108th Congress opens for business, economic growth is the top legislative priority of the U.S. business community. However, if business has its way, this week's ambitious Bush economic package won't emerge from Capitol Hill exactly as proposed. For example, the McLean, Va.-based AMT-the Association for Manufacturing Technology will be urging lawmakers to expand the expensing of technology and machinery purchases to all businesses and not limit it to small firms. Separately, the Washington, D.C.-based National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) will be pushing the permanent repeal of the estate tax, which it dubs the "death tax," and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also based in Washington, D.C., will be working to make the R&D and Welfare-to-Work tax credits permanent. Both the Chamber and NFIB will be lobbying the lawmakers to enact medical malpractice liability reforms to improve companies' access to affordable healthcare for their employees. And the Chamber along with other groups in the Alliance for Energy and Economic Growth will be seeking a comprehensive U.S. energy policy, something that the 107th Congress failed to agree on.

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