The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its legal-reform affiliate spent $73.6 million to lobby Congress and the executive branch last year.
The chamber was among the most vocal advocates of immigration changes, pushing for a plan that included a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The Democratic-led Senate passed a bill inJune, while the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has yet to take action.
Businesses have asked Congress to make available additional visas for skilled workers such as computer programmers, as well as for an expanded base of agricultural laborers.
The chamber, the largest U.S. business lobby, spent $135.5 million on lobbying in 2012 and $65.8 million in 2011. It regularly spends more to lobby the federal government than any other organization. It spent a record $144.2 million on lobbying in 2009, the first year of President Barack Obama’s administration. All totals include spending by the chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform.
The chamber has an expansive policy agenda, as its fourth-quarter 2013 report attests. It pushed to overhaul patent laws and promote presidential trade-promotion authority that would expedite consideration of trade pacts. It also backs increased domestic energy production.
Trade-promotion authority “is the Chamber’s top trade priority before the Congress,” Thomas Donohue, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer, said earlier this month.
Julie Bykowicz contributed to this report.