COC’s Donohue: Not Folding Tent After Cantor’s Loss

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June 11 (Bloomberg) -- Tom Donohue, president and Chief Executive Officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, talks with Alix Steel about the business implications of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and how it impacts immigration reform and the main issues impacting business in the United States. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”

Thank you.

The explosive news of the day, cantor's lost the primary, what is your reaction?

I think cantor is a very serious person who was working on some challenging and controversial issues, and who was in the leadership.

I think he provided a lot of help and balance and we will miss him.

Do you think it was a vote against the chamber of commerce at the end of the day?

O, come on.

We have been in 12 primaries since we started this.

We have not lost one yet.

We were not in that primary.

The headline is sort of interesting.

Your headline, the headlines in the press -- "the tea party beats cantor." the tea party had nothing to do with it.

They did not have any money or people there.

It was an attractive professor in a very, very conservative district in virginia.

Everybody was surprised.

But he was definitely the guy on the outside.

But is everybody on the outside a tea party person?

Not necessarily.

But eric cantor had millions from wall street banks.

What does that tell you about the state of business when it comes to getting elected?

I think you should look at what happens throughout the primary process, which is a recognition with half of the voting population.

They are having primaries in both parties.

They ought to put people in place who have a chance at being elected, and if they are elected, will go in and try to do things to create jobs, to drive the economy, and to put some common sense back into people working together.

It seems like a tea party or there will unseat an incumbent, or has the potential to.

Stick with "has the potential to." eric cantor did not even see it coming.

You didn't see it and i didn't see it, but there are 435 members of congress.

I feel badly for eric cantor.

He is a very talented guy.

But we are not going to fold up our tent and go home and not participate in the boy scout meeting because of one race.

I look at what is happening across the whole system and i think people across this country are looking for folks that want to make something happen, that want to bring this country to a point where we create more jobs, where we drive economic growth and deal with the problems we have.

What do you think of other races where we might see a tea party upset -- tea party candidate upset and incumbent?

I think in mississippi, there were issues.

There were highly emotional issues and issues of age and other things.

And not many people voted.

Now we will see in two weeks from now when they have a real election and two people sitting there going face-to-face what happens in that election.

Maybe that will make it more instructive.

But the bottom line is, this is what the american process is about.

And it is, by the way, how do you make money.

You have to get a conflict going here.

What are the issues that you as the president of the chamber of commerce care about?

Like immigration.

It seems like that was one of the reasons why he got voted out.

That would be old -- that will be for us to find out.

I don't know that is the case.

I don't believe immigration is dead.

I think we might have some change in the timing, but there are enough people in the congress -- yesterday, anyway -- who would have easily voted for immigration bill economy need an immigration bill.

We needed for four or five reasons.

We educate all of these people and send them home.

On the lower end, we need these workers to come here, or you will have to go and pick your mother-in-law up at the nursing home and bring her home to live with you.

These are trickling issues for the cut -- critical issues for the country.

Whether we deal with them now or wait until they get worse.

Will we see tea party candidates, or outsiders, taking on leadership positions that disrupt that agenda?

I have found over a long time frame that whoever eventually ends up in leadership positions has to do with the possibility of that position.

When you are the outside person trying to work your way in, you can say all kinds of things.

When you are the person with a responsibility, when the american people look to you to make decisions that affect them, their children, our economy, and our security, leadership all over the place does a better job.

But we have not really seen that with the tech part -- with the tea party.

Look at ted cruz and the government shutdown.

Look at this new -- at what has happened with the new influx of republicans.

There are a lot of serious people who have been non-aided and elected.

Ted cruz, by the way, he just had a big deal down at the republican conference in texas.

What was he doing?

He was more calm and moderate and talking about issues, because he understands that being aggressive while you are getting into the game is not exactly what you can be if you want to leave the game.

We have been at this a long time in this country and we're going to stay at it and you will do, more often than not, what is good for the american people.

Whether the republican party assimilates the outsiders or not, what does this mean for businesses?

I think businesses are doing fairly well.

Even though they just lost an ally in cantor?

We have lots of allies.

You can try to make this the story of the year, but it will not last very long.

We have the elections coming up in two weeks.

We have other activities that we all have to deal with around the world.

We have serious questions about what we are going to do about jobs and growth and yes, immigration.

We have serious questions about what we will do about infrastructure.

And then on social security, because in just a few weeks we will lose one of the social security programs and have to deal with that.

The bottom line here is that i feel badly for eric cantor, because he is a great servant to the american people.

Have you spoken to him, by the way?

Not yet.

We are here.

But the bottom line is, this is so exciting.

Very exciting.

Does this affect john boehner's job as speaker?

Not if he wants to be speaker . are you saying that if he does not want to be speaker he is in trouble, or a fee wants to be speaker -- or if he wants to be speaker he is in trouble?

I'm sure he wants to be speaker.

But his job is not in trouble.

Why is his job not in trouble?

Because he has enough to get elected.

That is how it works.

You might have 10 exciting stories you can tell -- what you think of jeb hensarling?

What do you mean?

If he joins the republican leadership, what do you think about him?

I would have to think about that.

I think the congress has to choose their own leadership.

We have never, ever allow the chamber to get into the business of who they choose as leader.

That mistake them up people that -- it is a bad mistake about people that do that.

We have to get good leadership so that whatever comes up to a vote or whoever is in leadership, we have the best people there to get the best possible results.

What is your preference for majority leader?

I would never take a preference.

That would be a contradiction of what i just told you.

But but you will -- but you want someone that is good for business.

You want someone who will work with you.

Everybody will work with us.

We have 300,000 members.

We represent 3 million companies.

We have thousands and thousands of chambers all over the country.

The opportunity to go and sit down and talk to people about our issues is wide open.

What we are concerned about is making sure that they get a fair hearing -- give a fair hearing to our views and vote according to their conscience.

We have been doing pretty well on that for a long time.

You are so calm, on the news

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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