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Report: Business Group Could Target Republicans Over Ex-Im Bank, Infrastructure

The strategy is reportedly in very early planning and specific targets have yet to emerge.

Mnet 47192 Us Chamber Of Commerce Logo

One of the nation's top business lobbying groups could be preparing to pick fights with select congressional Republicans over a series of economic issues.

Politico reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is frustrated with the efforts of some conservatives to stall its top legislative priorities after spending millions in last fall’s midterm elections — and that the group is considering getting involved in primary battles against those incumbents.

Chamber officials characterized its 2016 plans as "a recommitment to last cycle’s successful approach" and said that the group would continue its support of "pro-business candidates ... regardless of whether they are a Republican, Democrat, incumbent or challenger.”

But the business group almost exclusively supported Republicans, and a broad effort to defeat GOP incumbents would represent a significant tactical shift.

The 2016 strategy is reportedly in very early planning and specific targets have yet to emerge, but Politico's sources expect them to come from the ranks of conservatives that vehemently opposed some of the Chamber's top priorities, including immigration reform, highway funding and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

Opposition among some congressional Republicans led to the lapse of the Ex-Im Bank's charter earlier this month; the Chamber and other business groups warned last year that thousands of jobs depended on the low-interest loans provided by the bank to foreign purchasers.

“The fact that there are still members of the Republican House that are obstructionist, isolationists that would be willing to shut down the government only reinforces that the Chamber ... will double down on this winning formula,” International Franchise Association President Steve Caldeira told Politico.