Neil Bradley Neil Bradley
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 06, 2024


Thursday night, President Biden will stand before both chambers of Congress and present to Americans his view of the current state of the country and how he intends to govern for the rest of the year.

It is disappointing that rather than celebrating the millions of jobs created by private businesses this past year and the record number of new business starts, it appears that the State of the Union message will instead focus on raising taxes and more government price controls. Those policies would actually result in lower economic growth, fewer new business starts, less job creation, and fewer choices for American families.

Ahead of his speech, and with the 2024 election in full swing, the Chamber calls on policymakers to stop the blame game and get to work to tackle our country’s most pressing challenges.

Uncertainty in Washington breeds uncertainty for business

For months, Congress and the White House have failed to come together on long-term government funding, and instead have lurched from one stopgap measure to the next. This uncertainty in Washington creates uncertainty for the American people and businesses alike, and it is beyond time for our nation’s leaders to forge durable solutions.

Americans rely on the government doing its job, so they can do theirs. The ripple effects of a shutdown  – even a partial one – would be felt nationwide. The real-world implications include:

  • Companies not being able to obtain government permits to produce energy or build badly needed infrastructure. 
  • Federal contractors and subcontractors going unpaid, putting huge financial strains on small businesses and the families they support.

The Chamber is encouraged by the recently unveiled $435 billion spending package and its passage in the House and now urges the Senate to pass the legislation this week to avoid a shutdown on Friday.

There are other urgent priorities, including passage of the bipartisan tax deal, that also must be addressed. Some small- and medium-sized businesses have already begun laying off employees to compensate for the additional tax costs under current law, and increased tax liabilities can profoundly impact small business owners’ ability to make capital investments, modernize, and grow their workforces.

That's why we’re calling on the Senate to pass the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 (H.R. 7024), which includes critical pro-growth tax provisions for businesses.

Supplemental funding for allies directly helps U.S. businesses and workers  

Congress and the White House also must work together to pass a supplemental spending bill to support Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. 

As U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark wrote in USA Today: "Perhaps the most painful lesson of the 20th century is that what happens in Europe and Asia impacts America directly. We ignore it at our peril.”

Passing the supplemental isn’t just about supporting allies and protecting democracy abroad – foreign aid is essential for America’s own security and beneficial to the U.S. economy and American workers.

A significant amount of Ukraine aid will go directly to U.S. companies and their workers. This domestic investment is on top of spending by foreign governments to increase their defense capabilities with U.S. technology, including Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

This strengthens our own nation’s security by expanding our capacity -- defense contractors are planning to increase their workforce -- to manufacture the arms necessary for the defense of ourselves and our allies.

Voters support pro-growth policies, reject government micromanagement of business 

It’s not just gridlock and uncertainty that businesspeople must manage. With the 2024 election season in full swing, we can expect to see elected officials distort the facts to score political points with voters. Candidates think it is in their best interest to use business as a punching bag on a range of issues.

The Chamber’s recent polling rejects this approach and finds that voters not only support pro-growth policy solutions but also disapprove of government micromanagement of business decisions.

The prevailing sentiment is clear: consumers and the market should influence business outcomes, with government intervention kept to a minimum. 

Based on recent rhetoric from the President, we can expect him to continue to demonize business for high prices of goods and services. The reality of rising consumer prices is entirely out of step with the Administration’s explanation.

Inflation is caused by clear and well-understood economic factors that stem from supply and demand. Prices rise when we have too many dollars chasing too few goods and services. Many businesses are forced to raise prices when prices, in general, are rising.

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Overregulation drives up consumer prices 

In addition to inflation, supply chain issues, and rising labor costs, excessive government regulation is hampering businesses and causing prices to rise for consumers.

The Administration’s vendetta against so-called “junk fees” is little more than an attempt to micromanage businesses’ pricing structures. The result, however, is that businesses are restricted from giving consumers options at different price points.

From airline fares and car purchasing to everyday banking, the Administration’s crack-down on “junk fees” only exacerbates inflationary pressure by increasing compliance costs for businesses that, in turn, get passed on to consumers.

White House Strike Force an attempt to return to government price controls 

President Biden’s so-called “strike force”  is an attempt to return to the failed policy of government price controls which President Nixon tried fifty years ago – literally declaring that the government would set the price of meat.

The result was predictable: shortages leading to empty shelves and long lines and a decade of high inflation and economic stagnation. This effort by the Biden Administration to use regulatory agencies to micromanage how private businesses set prices will have the same result: shortages, fewer choices for consumers, a weaker economy, and less jobs.

To make matters worse, the strike force will be led by two agencies that, for the past three years, have been openly hostile to market efficiencies—blatantly ignoring lower prices and better outcomes for consumers.

The Chamber continues to lead the charge in pushing back against these harmful and counterproductive policies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s credit card late fees rule, that limits access to affordable consumer credit.

Bottom line: Don’t hamstring American business 

Despite the headwinds, the American business community and workers remain optimistic and focused on solutions.

Every morning, when people show up for work to do a job well done, when entrepreneurs flip the open sign around and welcome customers into the business they run or built, or when business owners sign the front of a paycheck, try a new technology, launch a new product or service,  sell into a new market, or make a five-year plan—it’s all optimism.

The government has an important role to play in the ability of people to start, run, and grow their business. As the President gives his speech this week, and as Congress is called to make progress for the American people this year, they shouldn’t politicize the economy, blame business for problems in the economy, or hamstring the American business community.

Help business and workers do what they do best—harness optimism to serve customers, solve problems, and create the innovative technologies and products of the future. 

About the authors

Neil Bradley

Neil Bradley

Neil Bradley is executive vice president, chief policy officer, and head of strategic advocacy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He has spent two decades working directly with congressional committee chairpersons and other high-ranking policymakers to achieve solutions.

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