Chamber Cries Foul Over Democrats’ Early Agenda

Posted January 6, 2009 at 11:47am

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce this week criticized House Democrats’ expected swift move to take up two employment bills, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

“I think we’re disappointed they are ramrodding these bills through the way they are,” said Randel Johnson, the chamber’s vice president in charge of labor, immigration and employee benefits.

Johnson, taking issue with the lack of fresh hearings on the legislation, added: “It belies the changes in the new House rules … I spent 10 years as counsel to the Labor Committee and never was the process so devoid of open discussion as we are seeing on this issue.”

Both measures were vetted in committee during the last Congress and passed the House. However, neither ultimately cleared the Senate.

The chamber is counting the votes on each bill and will try to defeat the legislation unless a compromise can be reached, Johnson said.

Should the chamber be unsuccessful in its attempt to defeat legislation, it could be a negative sign for what will likely be even a larger fight between business interests and labor unions over the upcoming “card check” bill, which would increase the rights for workers to organize.