The top lobbyist in corporate American yesterday laid out a raft of the top goals of the business community for 2013 including lower regulation, booming energy production, a fix for the country’s fiscal situation and increased trade. However, Tom Donahue, the president of the US Chamber of Commerce, was also perhaps surprisingly bullish and passionate in regards to a different long term goal, one which is not often linked with the frequently rather conservative group – that of American immigration reform.
“I have an optimistic feeling about this,” Donahue informed reporters following his annual speech on the State of American Business. “Before, everybody talked about it, everybody understood the issues, but there wasn’t an energy behind it and I think there is a bipartisan group of people – we haven’t got everybody, that’s for sure – but I feel positive about it and look forward to (immigration reform) this year.”
Despite the issue normally being more identified with liberal advocates, the Chamber has actually been a long term advocate of immigration reform, including supporting the 2006 legislation that was stalled in the House of Representatives thanks to Republican control.
However, Donahue says that he has had conversations with lawmakers on Capitol Hill from both parties and is optimistic that this year might finally see a solution presented. Donahue also pointed out that the Chamber continues to work with groups that range from law enforcement to faith organizations to labor unions in order to create a broad political coalition that will be able to support an effort for immigration reform.