The State of American Business 2022: Fighting for Innovation and Competition

The U.S. Chamber’s State of American Business event brought together business leaders, lawmakers, and policy experts to discuss how competition will drive business in 2022.


Air Date: January 11, 2022

Moderator: Suzanne Clark, President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, President and CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Chris Clark, President and CEO, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Featured Guests: Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO, Pfizer, Carol B. Tomé, Chief Executive Officer, UPS, Sen. Susan Collins, Senator, U.S. Senate, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Senator, U.S. Senate, TJ Douglas, Founder and CEO, Urban Grape

The State of American Business—the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual signature event to celebrate how American businesses are propelling the country forward— showcases how the Chamber will take on the economic, policy, and political realities in the year ahead. During the 2022 State of American Business, business and community leaders, executives, and members of Congress discussed the fights to come in the near future.

Here are some of the top highlights from State of American Business 2022.

In her keynote address, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark highlighted the innovation and resilience of American business while warning against increasing government overreach that could stifle competition and our fragile economic recovery.

She also issued a call to action for the business community: “The U.S. Chamber is calling for a new movement of bold—and I mean bold—business advocates committed to defending those elected officials who dare to find the common ground necessary to enact durable policies that move our country forward and committed to supporting pro-business champions in both political parties,” Clark said.

“My message to all the citizens of this great nation: Let’s get on the same side in this competition for our future,” she continued. “The U.S. has enough enemies. Let’s stop being our own worst enemy. Let’s stop the infighting and show the world that our democracy supporting our American enterprise system is what made the U.S. dynamic, diverse, resilient, and strong.”

Clark’s full speech can be viewed here.

Clark was introduced by TJ Douglas, founder and owner of Boston’s The Urban Grape and winner of the Chamber’s 2021 Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award. As an entrepreneur and small business owner, Douglas underscored how important competition is to the success of America’s communities and economy.

Douglas said, “For businesses like mine, competition is a motivator—it’s what pushes us to adapt, innovate, and accelerate the pace of progress.”

Dr. Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, discussed with Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, president & CEO of BIO, how the medical industry innovates for a healthier and more prosperous world. Dr. Bourla’s remarks zeroed in on how innovations made in the pursuit of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine have led to new, broader advancements in health care.

He said, “We are working on next-generation medicines for cancer, including vaccines against cancer and MRNA drugs against cancer that are going to be able to evade the mechanism cancer uses to create resistance to treatments.”

Dr. Bourla said that much of this innovation was the result of a healthy competitive environment in the life sciences: “The new wave of innovation can only be supported if we support this ecosystem of thousands of small biotech companies that exist—particularly in this country—and academia and institutions like ours. Our ability to collaborate and maintain a vibrant life sciences sector is what will make a big difference.”

Watch Dr. Bourla’s discussion with Dr. McMurry-Heath here.

Carol Tomé, CEO of UPS, sat down with Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and explained how innovation and supply chain resiliency keep commerce and economies moving. Tomé emphasized that it is the company’s workforce that drives UPS’ success.

“It’s because we have career opportunities, and not just job opportunities, that we are able to bring people into our workforce in this tight labor market,” Tomé said.

“There's a war on talent for sure. But our people are working on cool things too. When you think about people who are in the IT space, you can work on automating your facilities or drones or battery-powered aircraft. We’ve got some really cool things for people to work on.”

Read more about Tomé’s leadership and thoughts on the supply chain crisis and more here.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) discussed with Chamber Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley the state of Congress and how policymakers can help promote a strong economy and business environment.

“What we do is identify common ground. Neither of us thinks that coming together, discussing issues, and trying to find compromise is the wrong approach. I think it’s the right approach,” said Sen. Collins. “We’re both pragmatic and want to produce results.”

Sens. Collins and Shaheen discussed at length how their approach to lawmaking, focusing on the needs of the American people and willing to reach across party lines, yields result for their constituents.

“The best example of that is the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which represents the greatest investment in infrastructure in this country since the construction of the interstate system,” Sen. Collins noted.

“There were times during the infrastructure negotiations when things might have fallen apart,” Shaheen said. “But when they did one person or another – people on both sides of the political spectrum – said, ‘We can’t fail. We have to get this done.’ And I think that commitment allowed us ultimately to reach agreement and find solutions.”

For more on the Senators’ conversation with Neil Bradley read here.

The conversation continues: On Tuesday, January 18, join us for The Competition, a limited event series where we will dive deeper into the topics discussed at the State of American Business event.

This four-week series will include business leaders, policymakers, and Chamber experts who will tackle some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in the year ahead, from advancing global trade and addressing worker shortages to combating the polarization of ideas, and preserving and advancing free-market dynamism in the economic ecosystem.

Watch The Competition live on Tuesdays at 11 AM ET, from January 18 through February 8. Register here.


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