House GOP welcomes a new Chamber, declares war against the old one

House Republicans welcomed to the Capitol on Wednesday a new self-described “anti-woke” enterprise lobbying team, amplifying their hostility towards the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and broader “environmental, social and company governance” (ESG) movement.

Why it issues: The U.S. Chamber used to wield monumental energy inside the GOP as the representative of business interests. But the country’s greatest lobbying team is now considered with contempt throughout substantial swaths of the Republican Get together.

  • Property Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suggests he will never even meet up with with the team if he is speaker next calendar year.
  • The GOP Senate Conference isn’t almost as hostile as the Home. But several higher-profile Republican senators, together with Tom Cotton of Arkansas, have been publicly attacking the business foyer for months.

Driving the news: The Republican Research Committee, the biggest team of conservatives in the House, invited leaders of the American No cost Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, to lunch at the Capitol.

  • As Axios initially claimed, the group is positioning alone as an choice to lobbies like the U.S. Chamber, which some Republicans demand have lurched remaining to appease Democrats amid a broader energy by company The usa to advocate on difficulties these types of as abortion, voting legal rights and racial justice.

Driving the scenes: The Republican Study Committee lunch dialogue turned into a bashing session from the U.S. Chamber and company ESG.

  • RSC chairman Jim Financial institutions (R-Ind.), who is near to McCarthy, introduced the new group’s two leaders — its chairman, previous Iowa governor and President Trump’s ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, and its CEO Gentry Collins, a former political director of the Republican Nationwide Committee.
  • In his introductory remarks, Banks stated he was “progressively disappointed with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for supporting woke guidelines and enriching China.”

Amongst the strains: Woke is a time period used to refer to an awareness of wide injustices in society that conservatives are progressively making use of as a pejorative to criticize liberal beliefs.

Points only obtained worse for the Chamber from there as the lunch entered a problem-and-remedy session with Branstad and Collins.

  • Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) explained the company ESG motion as a “danger” to America that is “undermining American competitiveness” and said the U.S. Chamber “has been corrupted by woke contemplating.”
  • Barr advised Branstad about his monthly bill, the “Making sure Seem Advice (ESG) Act,” which is section of a broader GOP legislative assault towards environmentally friendly investing and other varieties of socially accountable investment. Section of the GOP’s aim is to get important investment decision companies to re-embrace fossil fuels.
  • “Amen — I concur with that,” Branstad mentioned of Barr’s prerequisite that expense advisers prioritize economical returns more than other troubles these types of as sustainability.

Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) informed Branstad and Collins: “Thanks for arranging an precise American Chamber of Commerce versus this woke Chamber.”

  • Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) contended that the U.S. Chamber experienced opposed adequately securing the southern border and was “flooding our country with low cost labor … essentially having careers out of the hands of U.S. citizens.”

  • “Where is this new Chamber heading to stand on border stability?” he questioned.
  • Branstad replied they would “stand solid for border security.”

Branstad was viewed huddling with Property Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) at the conclude of the lunch and later on achieved with McCarthy’s workers.

  • Scalise’s chief of employees, Brett Horton, claimed final calendar year his business office required nothing at all to do with the U.S. Chamber. “If the U.S. Chamber sent me a meeting request appropriate now, I would not even employees that conference out to an intern, and I do not see that modifying,” Horton reported.
  • The U.S. Chamber’s executive vice president Neil Bradley is a former senior Household GOP management staffer and govt director of the RSC.

The other facet: In reaction to this reporting, a U.S. Chamber spokesman explained to Axios:

“Now, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was advocating for boosting domestic electrical power manufacturing and chopping tariffs to control inflation, combating taxes in the Senate, securing two small business group wins at the Supreme Court docket, and ensuring professional-business champions like [South Carolina GOP] Rep. [Nancy] Mace return to Congress. So I am not guaranteed what these individuals had been referring to.”

The bottom line: The Chamber has remained extremely engaged in Washington in spite of its rocky connection with Republican management.

  • The $19 million it expended on its federal lobbying operation in the 1st quarter of 2022 topped the checklist of all D.C. lobbying spenders, in accordance to OpenSecrets.

Lachlan Markay contributed reporting.