The U.S Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday it plans to urge Republican lawmakers and the Bush White House to immediately tackle “unfinished business,” such as comprehensive energy legislation, in the new session before taking on hot-button issues like reform of the Social Security system.

“We have…urged the White House and congressional leaders to adopt a strategy that focuses on scoring some early successes and completing unfinished business from last year before turning to issues that will take more time, more debate and be more divisive,” Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, said in prepared remarks.

He called for Congress to “act with dispatch” on comprehensive energy legislation, which stalled in the Senate last year, and legal reforms (class action, asbestos litigation, medical liability and bankruptcy abuses), as well as a surface transportation measure.

“We came very close to success [on an energy bill] last year. We need a plan that expands domestic production and allows exploration on a small portion” of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, he said.

In a briefing with reporters in Washington, DC, Donohue also urged Congress to take early action to revise clean air rules and ensure that tax cuts remain in place for small businesses.

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