The Tea Party Faction and the Business Agenda

It's worth watching how the new members toe the corporate line

What will the historic Republican landslide mean for business?

Lots of things, says Bloomberg, in a long look at what might happen at the intersection of government and business. Basically, it says—and it’s right, of course—that Business was popping the corks last night.

But I think Bloomberg doesn’t hit enough on the potential conflicts that could arise between the new, more populist Republicans and their more traditional colleagues.

The one place where it does is in immigration. This is interesting and if it stands (and I doubt it will), it could be sowing a split between the Republicans and their traditional Big Business constituency:

Representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican slated to head the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration policy, says he opposes lifting visa caps for lower-skilled foreign workers because that would depress U.S. worker wages. He would support increasing visas for higher-skilled workers only if they meet criteria to boost the U.S. economy.

Business is not going to like that at all. It has a few main agendas: Lower taxes, less regulation, and cheaper labor (through open borders and open trade) being primary among them. The Tea Partiers are certainly with them on the first two, but I wonder about the labor thing.

So this will be one of the fascinating stories to watch over the next year: To what extent will tension arise between pro-corporate Republicans and the Tea Party caucus? There’s a good chance the answer will be none at all, but there’s also one that it could be significant.

I’m guessing that there are some unforeseen tangles these new Congresspeople will have over things like free trade. I can’t imagine the folks who put them in office look too kindly on things like outsourcing American jobs.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , ,