Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
January 14, 2019
2018 was a standout year for business. Tax reform and regulatory relief drove stronger growth in the economy than we’ve seen in over a decade. Job creation shattered expectations, wages continued to climb steadily, and unemployment dipped to record lows.
As a result, optimism in the business community is high. Our challenge for the new year will be to maintain the momentum that has buoyed businesses large and small, ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to achieve greater prosperity.
At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of American Business event, we outlined our vision for the year ahead and the policies we will advance to continue economic growth. In this new season of divided government, we will seize opportunities for bipartisan progress.
Infrastructure is a good place to start. Our highways, bridges, ports, and waterways are the arteries of American commerce. Through them flows the lifeblood of our economy — the people, energy, and resources that drive free enterprise. We want to keep it that way. That’s why we must act urgently to modernize the physical platform of our economy, much of which has already outlived its lifespan. The more we delay, the more businesses will suffer, which is why we call on our leaders to move this year on legislation to revitalize our nation’s infrastructure.
On workforce and immigration, we can also find common ground. We face the twin challenge of people without jobs and jobs without people. The Chamber is at the center of this complex issue, working with all stakeholders to address talent shortages and better equip workers for 21st century jobs.
We must also fix our broken immigration system so that our country can attract talented and hardworking people from all over the world. Immigration reform is a politically fraught issue requiring give and take from both sides. We believe that lawmakers should start with a commonsense compromise: providing protection for the Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status individuals and the resources necessary to secure the border.
Trade is also essential to our continued growth. We’re urging Congress to swiftly approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the administration to lift tariffs on Canada and Mexico. And we will urge a better approach to dealing with China than an escalating trade war waged through tariffs. Tariffs are nothing more than taxes paid for by American families and businesses.
These are just a few of the policy priorities we’ll be focusing on. We look forward to working with all our leaders to keep our country on the path to greater prosperity in 2019 and beyond.