In his annual State of American Business address yesterday morning, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue outlined the key challenges and opportunities facing not only the nation’s businesses but the country as a whole. He also highlighted the top priorities of the Chamber heading into 2013 as it fulfills its most important role, the business community’s strongest nationwide advocate.
Here’s a brief synopsis of what he had to say:
• The state of American business overall continues to slowly improve, especially in the areas of housing and energy, while Europe seems to be stabilizing and big companies have cash and are looking to invest. But, and while it does not believe we are headed for another recession, the Chamber also recognizes that its forecasted growth of 1½ to 1¾ percent for the first half of next year and 2½ percent by its end is not sufficient or acceptable.
• Significant uncertainty on issues like healthcare, regulations, taxes and deficits, as well as the seeming inability of our nation’s leaders to agree on and do what is best for the country continues to stall economic prosperity.
• In an effort to advance its American Growth and Jobs Agenda this year, the Chamber will be focusing its energy and resources on advocating for its members around five key issues: 1) Addressing the fiscal crisis through slowed spending growth, entitlement program reform and a tax-code overhaul, 2) Expanding American trade, 3) Producing more American energy, 4) Modernizing our regulatory system, and 5) Reforming immigration and visa policies.
• Additionally, the Chamber is committed to: continuing the fight to curb frivolous litigation, encouraging flexible and fair workplace rules, making the moral and economic case for reforming our schools and overhauling job training programs, expanding the nation’s manufacturing base and jobs, rebuilding America’s steadily crumbling infrastructure, and strengthening much-needed cybersecurity to protect all aspects of information technology.
“In the difficult environment of divided government, we stand ready to work with both parties and within both parties, with the administration, and with both traditional allies and adversaries, wherever and whenever we can agree,” Donohue said. “But we will not sugarcoat or shy away from the disagreements that will inevitably arise…and we will passionately defend the right of the business community and all Americans to speak freely and participate in the politics and public affairs of our democracy…”
To watch the webcast or read the complete transcript of Donohue’s remarks, click here on The State of American Business 2013 now!