Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing three million businesses, has sent a letter to Senator John Thune and all of his Senate colleagues to express support for the Government Ownership Exit Plan Act (S. 1242). The legislation, which Senator Thune introduced last week, would prohibit the Treasury Department from purchasing new ownership stakes in private companies through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and would require the Treasury Department to sell any current ownership stakes by July 1, 2010.

"By taking ownership stakes in financial institutions, banks, and automobile manufacturers, the government can no longer impartially referee economic competition," said Thune. "I appreciate the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's support for my bill, and I urge my colleagues to heed their call for action on it. I hope other groups will join the Chamber and aid our fight to preserve the free enterprise system."

In the letter, Bruce Josten, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, states: "S. 1242 would limit the federal government's intrusiveness into market decision-making and set a reasonable timeframe for withdrawal of financial support, while still protecting the American taxpayer."

In addition to prohibiting new purchases and requiring the sale of government ownership interests, the Government Ownership Exit Plan would prohibit the federal government from making management decisions for businesses in which it has an ownership interest. The legislation would also require that any revenues collected from the sale of assets must be used to pay down the national debt.

Senator Thune's legislation gives the Treasury Secretary the authority to delay divestiture for up to one year if there is a reasonable chance the assets will appreciate to the original purchase value in the near future. The Treasury Secretary would also be required to report to Congress and provide detailed information on existing government ownership interests in private entities and on any loans or loan guarantees made by the Federal Reserve.

The bill is currently co-sponsored by Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Tom Coburn (R-OK), John Cornyn (R-TX), John Ensign (R-NV), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and David Vitter (R-LA).

US Chamber Letter of Support for Thune Bill - US Chamber Letter of Support  PDFPDF