U.S. Chamber president calls for ‘policies that extend economic prosperity to all Americans’
Thomas J. Donohue outlines agenda to promote jobs and opportunity
In his annual State of American Business address, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said that the state of American business is improving. Despite some economic progress, he warned against policies and government actions that drive uncertainty and called for leadership to solidify our recovery, help generate stronger growth and job creation, and expand opportunity.
“Our economy is gaining strength, and we now have an opportunity to turn the page,” Donohue said. “But alongside the positive signs are some pretty big question marks. Employers are concerned about overregulation, the negative impacts of policies like Obamacare, and the fiscal health of our nation. Our economic success will depend on how well we build upon the economic momentum that is finally taking hold. By making the right decisions and adopting the necessary reforms, we can usher in a new era of economic prosperity and extend its benefits to all Americans.”
Donohue unveiled the chamber’s 2014 Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity Agenda , which includes expanding trade, producing more domestic energy, improving infrastructure, modernizing the regulatory process, making essential changes in entitlements, fixing the flaws in Obamacare, curbing lawsuit abuse, and advancing American innovation by protecting intellectual property. The agenda also focuses on revitalizing capital markets, passing immigration reform, and efforts to improve education and training.
He also outlined the chamber’s political efforts for the year, saying that in primaries and in the general election, the chamber will support candidates who want to work constructively within the legislative process to solve the nation’s problems—and who understand that business is not the problem, business is a big part of the solution.
“In 2014 the chamber will focus its tools, talent, capacities, and resources to advance a Jobs, Growth, and Opportunity agenda that we believe can benefit all Americans,” Donohue added. “No other country, no other people, no other society starts from such a position of strength and advantage as we do. The promise of America has always been that the older generations will leave to the young a stronger, better, and more hopeful country. This is a promise we can still keep and we must keep. But it all comes down to leadership—leadership in our government, leadership in business, and leadership in every sector of American life. Leadership that puts our country and the future first.”
Donohue outlined the following ‘ Jobs, Growth and Opportunity Agenda’
Expand Global Trade
“Now it’s time to move quickly to pass Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA. TPA allows Congress to set negotiating objectives for new trade pacts. It requires the executive branch to consult with Congress. And it gives Congress the final say on any trade agreement in the form of an up-or-down vote.”
Advance and Protect the Energy Revolution
We have more recoverable conventional oil and gas off our shores than the proven oil reserves of Europe and Asia combined—yet 87% of it remains off limits. We have enough recoverable coal to power our economy for more than 200 years. We must tap this vital resource—prudently, safely, and vigorously.
Improve America’s Infrastructure
The Chamber will work for a multi-year reauthorization of the nation’s core surface transportation program, which expires at the end of September. And, we’re asking Congress to complete work on a major water resources bill as soon as possible.
Save Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
The recent improvement in the budget deficit is only temporary. We still have a serious overspending problem. We’re still piling up debt. And entitlement programs are the primary cause. Last year, the Chamber began an effort to wake up the nation to this reality. In 10 years the total price tag for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will reach $3 trillion a year. Without reform all the major programs will be financially insolvent in 20 years.
Address the Need for Health Care Reform
In 2014, we will work to repeal onerous health care taxes; repeal, delay, or change the employer mandate; and give companies and their employees more flexibility in the choice of health insurance plans.
Regulatory and Permitting Reform
Our Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness is pursuing a practical agenda to ensure that job creators have access to capital by fixing or replacing provisions of Dodd-Frank that simply don’t work as planned—while also pushing regulators to act in areas that the law did not address.