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Starting with Growth: Setting the Right Priorities after the 2014 Elections

Nov 6, 2014

With the 2014 elections now behind us, Congress and the White House should turn their attention to policies to revive economic growth, business leaders said this week. Tops among those issues? Tax reform and expanded trade would be a good start. Include immigration reform, infrastructure and energy, while you're at it.

Reporters sought out the Business Roundtable's views when writing their post-election analyses, and BRT President John Engler cited the two above priorities, among others, as areas requiring action. As Engler said at the BRT-sponsored CQ Roll Call Election Impact Conference this morning, the United States needs policies that produce an annual GDP growth rate of 4 to 5 percent, not the 2 to 2.5 percent we're currently experiencing.

A round-up:

The Hill, "Business groups hail Senate flip":

“We believe all can unite around a pro-growth agenda that reforms the tax code and immigration system, and expands trade,” said John Engler, the president of the Business Roundtable. “Congress needs to roll up its sleeves and resolve these tough issues to make our businesses and country more competitive.”

Los Angeles Times, "GOP's Senate takeover could facilitate tax reform, trade accords":

The Republican takeover of the Senate raised the business community's hopes that stalled efforts to overhaul the tax code and enact other top priorities finally could move forward.

A key will be the common ground that President Obama and the GOP share and their ability to compromise on some of those issues, despite six years of intense partisan fighting that has polarized the parties.

"I think the overriding message here was … get to work," said former Michigan Gov. John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable trade association. "We need greater growth. We need jobs."

Business Journals, "Election 2014: What business wants from the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate":

"Voters in America have sent a loud message to Washington tonight: 'We want action! We want problems solved!'" said John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, an organization composed of CEOs from America's largest corporations.

Engler thinks Congress should address tax extenders, Trade Promotion Authority and the federal budget in this year's lame-duck session.

"Failure to act on these three priorities will discourage investment and hiring, and inject instability and uncertainty into the economy," Engler said.

New York Times, "Business Leaders Cautiously Expect G.O.P. Win to Open Some Doors":

“There is a pent-up demand for legislative action and there was a logjam because of the campaign,” said Bill Miller, a veteran lobbyist and senior vice president at the Business Roundtable, which represents a wide cross-section of the biggest American companies.

“The three issues we’ve got teed up now are corporate tax reform, then immigration reform as well as getting new trade agreements passed.”

Business Roundtable also issued a statement on Tuesday as election trends became clear.