With the COVID-19 pandemic coming to an end, the United States government is starting to turn its attention towards other issues. President Biden recently released his new plans for a large infrastructure repair bill known as The American Jobs Plan.
If it passes this new bill would fund the repairs of bridges, roads, and even ports and airports. Many of these structures have been long overdue for such repairs.
US Chamber of Commerce CEO, Suzanne Clark, is hoping to get this done to improve the economy. She has one other idea to help restart the economy again: immigration reform.
The Chamber of Commerce believes that building both workforce and infrastructure is vital. That this will help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. They have teamed up with many other organizations to launch the “Build by the Fourth” Coalition.
It encourages Congress to pass these reforms by the Fourth of July, 2021. But with the United States government more divided than ever, will it be possible for this bill and immigration reform to pass?
This article will break down what Suzanne Clark has said on how improving infrastructure and immigration laws will help the United States economy and why she thinks it’s possible to get it done.
The United States is currently ranked 13th in the world for infrastructure. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan is focused mainly on repairing structures such as roads, bridges, ports, and airports that are in desperate need of attention.
The main perks of this are that many roads will become much safer for citizens to travel on and that such projects could create jobs for a long time to come. The best news is that the American Jobs Plan doesn’t stop there!
According to Suzzane Clark and the US Chamber of Commerce, the priority for many American businesses is getting skilled workers. There are currently ten million Americans without work but seven million unfilled jobs. The reason for this is that the unemployed workers don’t have the skills needed to perform many of those jobs.
That’s why the American Jobs Plan also aims to fund education in those fields. This will go not only to American universities but to trade schools as well.
The American Jobs Plan seeks funding for child and elder caregiving services. The plan expands the availability of caregivers. It also makes them more affordable and better quality in-home care for children and the elderly.
It also raises the wages of caregivers from the current average wage of $12 per hour. This is well under what is generally considered a livable wage.
Another great benefit of the American Jobs Plan would be funding for the delivery of clean water to vulnerable communities. It would increase broadband and invest in public transportation. It’ll also invest in upgraded electric grids as well as small businesses and manufacturing.
All these would jumpstart the economy by making it safer and easier for Americans to get to work, creating more jobs in transportation, construction, education, and utility services, and modernizing many industries that you rely on every day.
While education creates a workforce that is ready to meet the demands of the future, it is also important that there is a workforce working for today. This is clearly not the case in The United States right now.
Immigration reform solves this problem by encouraging people to move here from abroad and put their talents to good use here. Many of these people will have the skills needed to fill those unfilled jobs that most Americans don’t have.
Immigrants come with different perspectives from those that grew up here, and they bring fresh ideas with them. When this happens, innovation always follows.
This innovation leads to new jobs as new technology, methods, and even entire fields of work are created. This is why many children in elementary school today will end up with jobs that don’t exist yet.
Suzzane Clark believes that The United States should encourage immigration for this reason. It is no secret that one of the keys to The United States’s success is the hard work and great thinking of its immigrants.
To achieve that goal, the Chamber of Commerce is currently encouraging Congress to enact what they call commonsense immigration reform.
These new policies would include:
- Protecting immigrants from losing their authorization to work in The United States.
- Improving border security efforts.
- Reforming employment laws so that employers can meet their needs sooner.
- Preventing administrative action that would prevent employers from hiring legal immigrants.
- Encouraging tourism to The United States.
- Hiring more border customs agents to allow more efficient movement of tourists and immigrants upon arrival.
Each of these proposed policies creates more jobs on United States soil. Many immigrants that come here will start businesses as well. This will also open up many job opportunities for Americans.
Build By The Fourth Coalition
In January of this year, the Chamber of Commerce announced its campaign to encourage these commonsense reforms. This campaign will help stimulate the economy again. It’s called “Build by the Fourth.”
Over 140 national and local groups have joined the Chamber of Commerce in this cause. These include immigrant, labor, and environmental activists. They all encourage congress to pass infrastructure repair legislation by the Fourth of July, 2021.
The organizations involved in this campaign all firmly believe that their proposed reforms will boost the economy back to its pre-pandemic state.
The goals of “Build by the Fourth” are as follows:
- Repairing and updating infrastructure.
- Stimulating the economy.
- Creating jobs to sustain the middle class.
- Promoting policies that are both fiscally and environmentally responsible.
- Addressing climate change.
- Improving federal project approvals.
- Addressing the digital divide.
Each of these goals is essential to getting the economy back on track.
Even environmental activism organizations are backing this campaign. They want to ensure that these goals are met in ways that help prevent further climate change issues and even reverse them if possible.
Labor and immigrant activists are also supporting the movement. They want to make sure vulnerable groups don’t get left behind by any new legislation.
President Biden released the American Jobs Plan in March of this year, two months after this campaign began. This indicates that the campaign seems to be working so far.
Why Suzanne Clark is Optimistic
Barron’s had an interview with Suzanne Clark that reveals why she is so optimistic about the chances that the campaign will be a success. This happened a few weeks before President Biden released his American Jobs Plan.
She believes that the priority is of course to beat the pandemic. The Chamber of Commerce has been busy working with employers to encourage mask-wearing, social distancing, vaccinations, and general community outreach about the pandemic.
Clark also believes that something else needs to happen to get the economy moving again. This is that the gap between the unfilled jobs and the unemployed in the United States needs to close. Infrastructure and immigration reform are great ways for this to happen.
Clark says that small, local, family-owned businesses were more affected by the pandemic than others. However, the focus must be on the economy as a whole. This is why the American Jobs Plan must cover such a wide variety of fields.
She feels that the United States cannot consider itself competitive in global markets when its infrastructure is crumbling in many places around the country.
“Build by the Fourth” believes that their lobbying can get the American Jobs plan passed. They want to do this by their goal of this year’s July Fourth holiday.
Clark is confident that their campaign can get the job done. Congress understands that something must be done about the crumbling infrastructure soon. This is despite the polarization in the United States government right now.
In a manner of speaking, Clark is right. Immigration is always a much tougher issue to resolve. However, but there is bipartisan support for repairing and adding to the country’s infrastructure.
Democrats and Republicans alike are more than happy to get infrastructure standards back up to the mark. The only thing they can’t seem to agree on is how to pay for it!
Now is the Time for Reform
Fresh ideas for how to help the economy recover quickly from the Covid-19 pandemic have never been more needed than right now. With the unemployment rate inflated and people coming back out from isolation, it is time to get Americans back to work.
You can support Suzanne Clark and the “Build by the Fourth” coalition and all the more than 140 organizations promoting it, you can sign the petition that is on their website right now or email your state’s congressmen to encourage them to pledge to pass infrastructure and immigration reforms.
And if you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out our other articles on business and politics!