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Politico: U.S. Chamber heaps praise on Dems

 

By Lisa Lerer

The Chamber of Commerce is publicly thanking Democrats who took political risks for supporting the economic stimulus package, striking yet another blow to the traditional alliance of Republicans and big business.

The Chamber broke with the GOP to support the $787 billion stimulus package, angering some Republicans who have long thought of Big Business as an ally.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), whose southern Connecticut district is populated with a large number of Wall Street commuters, blasted his congratulatory note to reporters on Thursday.

“Since the elections, we've worked with the president and Congressman Himes to quickly pass a bill that would apply a defibrillator to the economy and shock it back to life,” Bruce Josten, the Chamber's executive vice president of government affairs, said in a press release.

Among the House Democrats who also received Chamber thank yous: Baron Hill, a moderate Blue Dog Democrat from Indiana; Joe Courtney, from a swing district in Connecticut; and Suzanne Kosmas, a freshman who defeated Rep. Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) last year.

Late last month, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters that he “wasn't happy” with the Chamber's support for the bill.

Chamber lobbyists argue that there are no “monogamous relationships” in Washington and point to issues such as immigration, where Republicans and business have spilt. A spokesman for the Chamber noted that the group sent similar releases last fall, after Congress passed the $700 billion bailout package.