The nonpartisan National Small Business Association added a new question this summer to its survey of more than 1,100 small-business owners, and it vaulted immediately to the top of the group’s To Do list for Congress and the Obama administration. “The No. 1 thing small businesses want policymakers to do is end the partisan gridlock and work together,” the NSBA found.
Good luck with that.
As Washington heads toward an autumn of fiscal deadlines, government-shutdown threats, and the specter of default, the business community is reaping the whirlwind. Dozens of House and Senate conservatives, many of them tea-party populists, have been elected since 2010 with help from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, and other business interests.
Now these same lawmakers—described by one business lobbyist as “economic fundamentalists” for their aversion to compromise—are a chief reason for holdups and breakdowns on bills that traditionally are bipartisan, as well as on big issues where deals may be within reach. All of which puts the business sector in an interesting squeeze: fighting many Obama policies tooth and nail, but also bemused and in some cases frustrated by the way some presumed congressional allies are handling their jobs.
“You don’t really know what they’re going to do or why,” says NSBA President Todd McCracken, a 20-year Washington veteran. “It used to be there were not many rewards for obstruction. Now there are no consequences.” […]
For businesses, the stakes amid all this disruption are enormous. They are keenly interested in tax reform and immigration reform. They would like to see more federal spending on infrastructure and less on entitlements, and less federal regulation across the board. They don’t like brinkmanship on budget and debt issues, or the more routine dysfunction that has stalled transportation and agriculture legislation important to both parties and much of the private sector. And as most business groups have made crystal clear, they really, really don’t like the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Yet there is little to no business support for the latest tea-party-driven crusade to block any funding bill that includes money for the health care law, even if it means the government would shut down when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. […]
More at the National Journal…