After Funding Republicans, U.S. Chamber Urges Debt Limit Deal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $29 million last year primarily in support of Republican congressional candidates, is intensifying its push for Congress to raise the debt limit.

A statement issued today by the chamber’s chief economist, Martin Regalia, said that “a small negative impact resulting from failure to increase the debt ceiling and defaulting on our obligations could turn the economy back into a recession.”

The chamber, the largest U.S. business federation, also set up a link on its home page for visitors to send e-mails to members of Congress under the subject line, “Default is not an option.”

The actions come as a potential U.S. default looms if the borrowing limit is not raised by Aug. 2, according to the Treasury Department.

The chamber’s position puts it at odds with some House Republicans, who oppose current plans to raise the debt limit even with spending cuts that would exceed the increase.

FreedomWorks, a Tea Party-aligned group led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a Texas Republican, today urged House members to vote against a proposal by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio that would increase the debt limit in two stages, the second contingent on congressional approval of a balanced budget amendment.

Last week, in the chamber’s blog, chief lobbyist Bruce Josten urged business leaders to contact their lawmakers and “tell them that default is unacceptable.”

“Now, make no mistake; too much spending and the need for real entitlement reform has led to the debt crisis we’re in today,” Josten wrote. “But jeopardizing our country’s credit rating and fiscal security by refusing to compromise isn’t the answer.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net.

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