At a breakfast with reporters this morning, Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, praised House Budget chair Paul Ryan and his "Path to Prosperity" budget outline, which was released earlier this week.
"We think it is exactly the pathway to a trajectory to get the federal budget spending down to where it’s under control," Josten said. "This is not just touching the third rail, this is grasping the third rail."
While he said Ryan's efforts to address critical issues of national debt and out of control entitlement spending were important, Josten also emphasized the plan's focus on economic growth, particularly in the realm of tax reform.
“While he doesn’t have the jurisdiction for tax reform, he [Ryan] called for it and put it on the table," Josten said. "Why is that important? While we’ve stood still for the past several years, the rest of the world has moved forward on trade agreements. There are close to 300 of them in effect; we’re party to about 17. We’re well behind. The same activity is taking place in taxation, country by country. Look at the OECD, of which we’re a part, they had a 33 ½ percent average rate in the year 2000, they’re now down to 25 ½. We’ve stood still, so we’re falling behind."
Josten was joined by U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donahue. The Chamber did not officially endorse Ryan's budget plan this morning, and it's likely that most advocacy groups and organizations will hold off endorsing the plan (or not endorsing it) until there's at least some form of a Democratic plan in response.