President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
March 01, 2022
Tonight, we will be watching as President Biden gives his State of the Union address to a nation burdened with economic challenges and a world in crisis.
In a typical year, some might dismiss the annual address as political theater or Washington rhetoric. But this is a moment when our democracy can and must serve as a powerful model for a world that craves freedom. This is a moment for American leadership in support of democracy, free enterprise, and the rule of law. And it is an opportunity for the president to assert an agenda that will make us stronger at home and abroad.
Here’s what the business community hopes to hear from President Biden:
1. America’s resolve to stand strong with our allies against authoritarianism and aggression by Russia and other regimes.
The American business community stands with the people of Ukraine, and we support the administration, Congress, and our allies in a strong and meaningful response to Russia’s unprovoked war.
2. A policy agenda that will ease the economic burdens and uncertainty on businesses and families.
Business and government must work together to address the interrelated challenges of rising inflation, the worker shortage crisis, supply chain disruptions, and soaring energy costs. We know these are the clear concerns of our members. Just last week we asked our members what issues they wanted to hear about in tonight’s address. The top three responses in our straw poll were: inflation (33%), government overreach (24%), and worker shortages (22%).
3. Energy policies that strengthen U.S. energy security and help allies and partners reduce their dependence on Russia’s oil and natural gas.
Last year we imported an all-time high amount of crude oil and related petroleum products from Russia. We must now enhance America’s energy self-sufficiency and the security of our allies by adopting policies that move us away from Russian energy sources. These changes should include ending the ban on oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, and addressing pipeline permitting policies to build more domestic energy infrastructure.
4. A respect for the role of the private sector in creating opportunity for people, driving prosperity for our country, and leading innovation to solve problems.
A big government agenda—marked by higher taxes, inflationary spending, overreach, and overregulation—will sap the innovation, competition, and dynamism in our economy needed to move our country forward.
5. A bold trade agenda to strengthen U.S. engagement and leadership in the global economy.
While our competitors race ahead on trade, the U.S. is standing still. We need more mutually beneficial trade agreements to boost our economy and strengthen strategic alliances.
We look forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress on shared priorities—and when we don’t agree, we will push back. We live in a country governed by a system that allows us to disagree. We can build relationships and advocate, we can get involved in the political process, we can provide expert advice, we can exchange ideas and hash out differences. If we need to, we can use the third branch of government, the courts system, to constrain government overreach. And we can lift our megaphone and raise the collective voice of business in the public debate.
The state of the union is strong when the state of American business is strong—and when we are a clear voice and a strong model for freedom and free enterprise in the world.
About the authors
Suzanne P. Clark
As President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Suzanne Clark heads strategy, government relations and market innovation to support member companies and businesses.