Obama to Address US Chamber of Commerce in February

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue. David Bohrer/www.uschamber.com

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue.
David Bohrer/www.uschamber.com

CBS News has confirmed that President Obama will speak to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce early next month. The speech is scheduled for February 7th.

The chamber is a right-leaning trade group representing business that has emerged as a powerful and well-funded critic of Mr. Obama's policies. It has an annual budget of $258 million and spent tens of millions of dollars campaigning against Democratic congressional candidates last year.

The White House said Mr. Obama will use the address, at the chamber's Washington headquarters, to discuss the importance of working together on job creation and growing the economy. Mr. Obama met with a group of CEOs at the White House last month.

The speech comes roughly one month after Republicans, who have traditionally allied closely with business interests, took over the House and gained votes in the Senate. Just this week came word that GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, who will lead the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to a wide range of companies and other groups asking them which regulations they would like to see eliminated.

One major sticking point between Mr. Obama and the chamber has been health care reform legislation. Health insurers reportedly gave the chamber more than $86 million in 2009 to oppose the legislation. The chamber has also strongly resisted administration efforts to pass a climate change bill and opposed its efforts on Wall Street regulation and tax policy.

In October, Mr. Obama took a shot at the chamber in the wake of a mini-scandal over its funding, saying, "groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections, and they won't tell you where the money for their ads come from." The chamber does not disclose its donors but denies it used foreign money to fund campaign ads.

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