GOP Lobbyist: Business Needs to ‘Step Up’ Against the Tea Party | The Nation

Lee Fang

Lee Fang

Investigating the intersection of politics, lobbying and public policy at RepublicReport.org.

GOP Lobbyist: Business Needs to ‘Step Up’ Against the Tea Party

Lee Fang interviews John Feehery Tuesday.

Is the GOP’s hostage-taking on Capitol Hill really drawing divisions between congressional Republicans and corporate America? “Republicans Are No Longer the Party of Business” blares a headline this week in Bloomberg Businessweek.

The Republicans’ stated refusal to raise the debt ceiling has provoked angry letters from the National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce. But with all the grumbling over the debt ceiling, there hasn’t been any truly visible action, or outside advocacy. Not a single campaign advertisement and no paid media, weapons of choice for the business lobby to pressure lawmakers, have been run against a Tea Party lawmaker. That might change, says one corporate lobbyist with strong ties to the party.

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John Feehery, a former senior aide to Dennis Hastert and Tom DeLay, is now a lobbyist for Quinn Gillespie, where he represents a range of interests, from News Corp. to AT&T. We ran into Feehery on Capitol Hill yesterday, who explained to us, “I think the business community has to step up to work to nominate Republicans who have a belief in the Constitution as it’s supposed to work out.”

The Chamber, Feehery says, needs to “understand that they’re under the gun.” Asked if the Chamber or other business groups will run campaign advertisements against the Tea Party lawmakers, Feehery said, “They haven’t so far…my own view is that if you want to fix the country, you have to fix the Congress.”

Bryce Covert tell us what the Democrats should demand from Republicans during the shutdown.

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