U.S. Chamber’s Donohue Starts Nationwide Conversation, Urges Lawmakers to Make Economic Growth a Priority
At an event in collaboration with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue delivered remarks outlining the Chamber’s pro-growth agenda and urging lawmakers to prioritize economic growth. Donohue’s remarks were the first in a series of #LetsGrow Tour events that the U.S. Chamber will hold across the country with elected officials, policy leaders, and business owners to hear about growth in their states and opportunities at the federal level.
Before an audience of business owners and leaders from the Chicago area, Donohue focused on the important role a robust financial services sector plays in fueling economic growth. He also highlighted several reforms lawmakers can pursue to strengthen this sector, including restructuring our financial regulatory system; reforming the regulatory processes of the Federal Reserve to facilitate economic growth and productivity; and pursuing regulatory fixes to restore lending to Main Street.
“All U.S. businesses—from the Fortune 500 to Main Street shops to nimble startups—need access to short- and long-term capital, liquidity, and risk management tools to operate. Most can’t survive, let alone grow, without it. And our economy can’t grow without them. We’ve got to restart the growth engine, and we’ve got to fuel it with capital, and all the financial products and services that businesses and consumers alike rely on,” Donohue said. “Some of the loudest voices in the debate over our financial system have forgotten, ignored, or obscured the fact that capital markets are ultimately about growth—that they are the lifeblood of our economy.”
Donohue pointed to Chicago as a city whose financial sector meets the needs of industry, and highlighted a commitment among the state’s leadership and business community to driving stronger, faster, growth. “Turning around Illinois is not only critical to having a healthy Chicago, it is imperative to growing America’s economy,” Donohue added.
“Illinois has the best people and the best location of any state in America. We need to grow the economy to ensure Illinois regains its place as the economic engine of the Midwest,” Governor Rauner said. “By making changes to the current system to encourage innovation and job growth, we will be able to overcome our current challenges. As I told lawmakers in the State of the State Address this week, we are encouraged by the bipartisan discussions in the senate and urge them to keep working aggressively to reach a compromise in order for Illinois to thrive.”
Donohue also called the Illinois Chamber a powerful champion for the state’s business community, noting that state and local Chambers will play an important role in facilitating a nationwide conversation on how we can foster economic growth.
“As surrounding states aggressively adopt pro-growth policies, it is essential for Illinois to keep pace,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Todd Maisch. “The Illinois Chamber is working for progress, especially for modern policies and regulatory structures, that will improve Illinois’ climate for investment and access to capital. We want an Illinois that can be recognized as a great place to do business and create jobs.”
To help showcase the countless ways a robust financial services system powers growth, Donohue also announced that this year the U.S. Chamber will be releasing a series of Main Street impact stories, which will highlight the ways American job creators rely on a diverse array of financial institutions, including large community and regional banks. You can find the Main Street impact stories here.
The #LetsGrow Tour was announced during Donohue’s annual State of American Business address earlier this month and will include stops in several cities, including Baton Rouge, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Detroit, and will conclude with a final summit in Washington, D.C. in March.
You can find a full copy of Donohue’s remarks here.