Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
January 07, 2019
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomed all new and returning senators and representatives to the 116th session of Congress, which got underway last week. Our nation’s elected officials are key partners in our efforts to grow the economy, create jobs for workers, and help businesses succeed. As we look ahead to a busy year that will bring both opportunities and challenges, we’re urging leaders in Congress and the administration to focus on areas of agreement and work together to advance our country’s best interests.
Here’s our wish list for good government in the new year.
Certainty: Our leaders can foster the certainty that businesses crave by fulfilling their basic duties. This means keeping the government’s lights on, setting and passing responsible budgets, and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. The alternatives — governing from crisis to crisis and spending with reckless abandon — are not how we should conduct the nation’s business.
Growth: Our leaders can help set the conditions for continued economic growth by advancing the right policies and passing good legislation. We all saw our economy hit its stride in 2018, thanks in no small part to tax reform and deregulation. Let’s keep up the momentum this year with a major infrastructure package, meaningful immigration reform, and a smart trade agenda that maximizes growth and minimizes risk.
Proactive Leadership: Our leaders should anticipate and address looming challenges before they become full-blown crises. For example, our entitlement programs are on an unsustainable course. Without action soon, vulnerable Americans will be left without a social safety net and future generations will be left with mountains of debt.
Bipartisanship: Our leaders will be able to govern more effectively and productively if they commit to working on a bipartisan basis. In fact, our current divided government requires that lawmakers reach across the aisle to get almost anything done. None of us wants to see two years of gridlock. So our challenge to the 116th Congress is to spend less time focusing on disagreement and more time seeking meaningful compromise.
Good governing is important because dysfunction saps confidence, threatens growth, and consequently undermines opportunity. We believe that all of our elected officials genuinely want to help the country — even if they have different ideas on how to do it. They will be most successful if they work together in good faith, find consensus, and get things done. The Chamber remains committed to helping them do just that.