Chamber “Ultimatum” on Immigration Reform: Do As We Say, Not As We Do

So expect some big noise tomorrow about a fiery comment made by U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tom Dohohue, described in the headline of the Politico piece (topped by a photo of Donohue shouting into a microphone) by Kevin Robillard as an “ultimatum to GOP:”

Tom Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the GOP shouldn’t even field a presidential candidate in 2016 unless Congress passes immigration reform this year.

“If the Republicans don’t do it, they shouldn’t bother to run a candidate in 2016,” Donohue joked at an event on infrastructure investment in D.C. “Think about that. Think about who the voters are. I just did that to get everybody’s attention.”

First of all, it’s rare to see an “ultimatum” delivered via a “joke.” It’s probably one or the other, and Donohue himself told us which it was.

Second of all, if the Chamber is going to go to the mats to push congressional Republicans into passing comprehensive immigration reform, wouldn’t you figure they’d decline to endorse Senate candidates who oppose it?

Well, Mitch McConnell has been Chamber-endorsed and its working with him hand-in-glove on a bunch of races. McConnell voted against the bill that passed the Senate last year. Another recent Senate endorsee is Jack Kingston of Georgia, whose website declares him dead-set against any kind of “amnesty.”

Yeah, I’d say Donohue’s “ultimatum” was definitely a joke. Yuk yuk yuk.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.