Issues

The U.S. Chamber strongly believes that America’s food supply must be abundant, affordable, and the world’s safest. It must be abundant to not only feed Americans with nutritious food, but increasingly to help feed the world. One in three acres of American farmland is already planted for overseas markets, helping to substantially drive down our trade deficit. It must be affordable because food costs are American household’s third highest expense. And it must be the safest in the world to ensure the public health of American families.
It is the role of the government to responsibly manage our nation’s finances so that: we have the resources to invest in priorities that are essential to our national security and competitiveness; we can provide a sustainable safety net for the sick, elderly, and poor without depleting all of our other financial resources; and we can ensure that future generations aren’t saddled with debt they didn’t incur. In order to meet those obligations, the Chamber is calling for government reforms that will address the looming crisis of unsustainable entitlement programs, keep deficit spending low for the long-term, and rein in our growing debt.
A strong education system is crucial to preparing young people for good jobs and bright futures and sustaining a 21st century workforce that can compete in the global economy. The Chamber is focused on fixing shortcomings in our education system so that: students emerge from our public education system prepared for college or career; higher education is more accessible and affordable; employers can find workers with the right skills and qualifications; and our workforce will attract investment, drive growth, and spur innovation.
America is in the midst of a true energy revolution. After decades of fear over potential energy scarcity, we are now in an era of energy abundance, driven by technological innovation and American know-how. But will we have the wisdom to capitalize on this opportunity? If we develop smart policies, we can use affordable and abundant energy to launch a manufacturing revival, improve our trade deficit, effectively increase household spending power, and revitalize America’s economy.
The Chamber strongly supports continued environmental improvements, including sensible approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We believe that economic growth and environmental progress are not mutually exclusive goals. In fact, the United States is the only major country that has actually and substantially reduced its C02 emissions while continuing to grow our economy. To make further progress, we should be guided by what has already worked: gains in efficiency, new technologies, and the increased use of natural gas and renewable fuels.
The federal government should not produce goods and services for itself or others that can be produced at a lower price, with higher quality, and a faster delivery schedule by private businesses. The government saves billions of tax payer dollars and sustains the nation's competitive edge in industries such as defense, information technology, and management when it partners with and invests in private sector companies. However, a complicated and inflexible federal contracting process with costly administrative burdens deters many businesses from bidding on contracts. The U.S. Chamber works to streamline the acquisition process, ensure a fair and open procurement system, and encourage the government to rely more on the private sector for the goods and services it needs.
Capital goes where it is welcome, where it feels safe, and where it has a reasonable opportunity to earn a profit.  To maintain and advance its global leadership in capital formation, the United States must have the most fair, efficient, and innovative capital markets in the world. We can’t achieve this without a modern and coherent financial services regulatory system.In many ways, the government is moving us further away from well-functioning, well-regulated capital markets by producing a maze of overlapping, contradictory, and duplicative financial regulations. The U.S. Chamber is fighting for the kind of financial rulemaking that protects consumers and investors, encourages reasonable risk taking, doesn’t constrain innovation and growth or allow special interest groups to advance their agendas at the expense of all investors, and is coordinated with other economies and among the many domestic agencies that issue financial regulations.  
There are some freedoms that define the American dream and bring vitality to a productive, innovative, and prosperous free enterprise system. Those freedoms include the right to speak, the right to due process, and the right to take a risk and be rewarded, not vilified, for your success. These rights are the building blocks of our free society and our free enterprise system. And when they come under attack, the Chamber responds. 
In many ways, U.S. health care is the envy of the world—it has helped many individuals live longer than ever and enjoy a better quality of life than previously possible. However, we continue to face the challenge of making quality health care more affordable, more accessible, and more reliable for all Americans. The Chamber is focused on promoting effective private sector solutions to our health care challenges that will help control costs, expand access, and improve the quality of care.
Throughout our history, America has had the opportunity to grow and thrive because we have attracted and welcomed the most talented and the hardest working people to our shores. But today our immigration system is broken and failing to meet the needs of our society, our economy, our businesses, and our workers. Commonsense immigration reform would boost economic growth, create jobs, and spur innovation and entrepreneurship. And it would renew America's legacy of being an open and welcoming country where anyone who works hard can achieve his or her dreams.
Most Americans agree that our roads, bridges, mass transit systems, air and sea ports, and water infrastructure are critical national assets that drive growth, jobs, safety, and global competitiveness. What we can’t seem to agree on is how to pay for badly needed maintenance and repairs. It’s time to stop thinking about infrastructure as a problem, but as an opportunity for bipartisan agreement to invest wisely and carefully in our most critical needs, while eliminating wasteful spending.  
Our economy is driven by the need to innovate, create, and develop new ways to serve consumers, and industries that rely on intellectual property (IP) play an essential role. When inventors, researchers, engineers, artists, and entrepreneurs know that their work will be protected and rewarded through strong IP rights—including patents, trademarks, and copyrights—they have the certainty and the incentive to keep the economy-boosting innovations coming. Moreover, IP protections guard consumers against dangerous fakes and counterfeit goods.
Selling more of our goods and services around the world is a great way to create American jobs, help small businesses, and keep the United States ahead of its global competitors. The Chamber wants to negotiate trade and investment agreements that are fair, accountable, and create a level playing field; put American families and workers first; and benefit consumers and businesses, especially small businesses, which represent 97% of all U.S. exporters. 
The United States economy is supported by a highly innovative, creative, productive, and industrious workforce. The jobs that make up the U.S. economy—and the businesses that create those jobs—help workers provide for their families and lead healthy, comfortable, and fulfilling lives. To keep the economy vibrant and to continue to create opportunity for workers, we must ensure that new businesses can be launched and current ones can be expanded. The U.S. Chamber promotes workplace policies that will enhance, not inhibit, economic growth and job creation.
Every American who has been legitimately wronged deserves his or her day in court.The U.S. Chamber and its Institute for Legal Reform are working every day to make our legal system faster, simpler, and fairer. We are fighting those who abuse the system for their own personal gain, clog the courts with meritless lawsuits, and undermine our right to due process.
Economic security and national security go hand-in-hand. We must have one in order to protect the other. The Chamber advocates for protecting vital U.S. assets—both physical and digital—to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and to promote the free flow of commerce and information that drives our economy and enriches our society.
The Chamber recognizes the need for smart regulations to ensure workplace safety and protect public health. But with a $2 trillion price tag in compliance costs and an increasing number of huge and complex rules, it’s clear the regulatory system isn’t working the way it should. Americans deserve a working regulatory system that is fair for everyone, takes into account the views of communities and businesses, evaluates the impact rules will have on jobs and small businesses, and protects our economic and personal freedoms.
American businesses of every size maintain a long-held commitment to providing voluntary benefits that support the welfare of their workers. As Americans live longer, healthier, and more active lives, retirement security becomes a greater concern—particularly with the uncertainty surrounding government programs like Social Security.  The private employer-provided retirement system has contributed significantly to the retirement needs of millions of seniors. The Chamber and its members are committed to continuing the success of the system and ensuring the long-term retirement security of Americans.
Our tax code is a drag on growth, wages, and global competitiveness. U.S. businesses will increasingly struggle to compete around the world and remain strong at home if we don’t modernize our antiquated and complex tax code. The Chamber is fighting for a smarter, streamlined tax system allowing taxpayers to make smarter decisions about how they work, save, and invest, and unleashing the power of American businesses—large and small—to create jobs. To that end, the Chamber is advancing a pro-growth tax agenda to lower tax rates for businesses and individuals alike, establish a more economically rational tax base, and simplify compliance and administration.Our priorities include:Lower Rates: Lowering the U.S. business tax rate—the highest in the advanced world—would reduce or even eliminate the competitive disadvantage American businesses face in the global economy, encourage investment from both domestic and foreign sources, and  drive job creation in the United States.Allow capital Investment: Tax reform should eliminate the bias in the current U.S. tax system against capital investment.Shift to Territorial System: We should replace our system of worldwide taxation with a territorial system so that businesses aren’t double-taxed on income earned overseas. This would help American companies compete globally while promoting economic growth at home.Ensure Industry Neutrality: Tax reform legislation should ensure all industries are treated equally under the tax law, eschewing special tax benefits or penalties targeted to one industry versus another.  The reformed tax code should allow the marketplace, not the tax system, to allocate capital and resources.Set Clear Rules of the Road: Tax rules should be simple, predictable, and easy-to-understand to improve compliance and reduce the cost of administration.Provide a Smooth Transition: Comprehensive tax reform should include simple, realistic transition rules to provide adequate time for implementation and help minimize hardships businesses may encounter in transitioning to the new tax system.Promote Certainty: Comprehensive tax reform changes should be made permanent to ensure certainty for businesses striving to expand, create jobs, and remain competitive in the United States and abroad.
Technology-based industries and businesses create tremendous growth and opportunity in the U.S. economy and are essential to competing in an interconnected world. Outdated laws and regulations impede U.S. technological innovation and deployment. The U.S. Chamber and the Chamber Technology Engagement Center (C_TEC) promote market-based solutions, policies that foster investment in technology research and deployment, and balanced regulatory treatment of technical platforms.
America has always been a nation on the move. But an aging and crumbling transportation system is not only slowing Americans down, it’s reducing productivity, undermining our ability to move products across the country and around the world, and increasing congestion and air pollution. America’s transportation system is badly in need of investment. But how do we pay for it? The simplest, most effective short-term solution is to increase the gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993, even as people drive less and cars become more fuel efficient. And what better time for a small, phased-in increase then when gas prices are tumbling at the pump? It’s a good investment for America, its citizens, and its businesses. But Americans have every right to insist that any increase comes with guarantees that the money will be spent for its intended purposes, spent wisely on genuine priority projects, and will result in an improvement to our quality of life. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to bear the entire burden—we need to remove barriers that prevent us from leveraging up to $250 billion in private capital for transportation projects. Adequate funding is only one of the Chamber’s transportation priorities. We also support: A strong federal role in transportation so that our national system remains cohesive and interconnected. Permit streamlining so transportation projects can get off the ground more quickly, are completed in a timely manner, and keep costs low. More public-private partnerships that ease the strain on federal and state budgets and free up public money for projects that can’t attract private investment.  Our transportation system is a tremendous national asset we’ve built up over generations. It has fueled economic growth, enhanced our competitiveness, and created a lot of good jobs. If well-maintained, it can continue to deliver outstanding benefits to all Americans.
Expanding travel and tourism can and should be a bipartisan priority, and it’s one the U.S. Chamber strongly supports. Travel and tourism already accounts for $888 billion in revenues and 7.9 million American jobs. It could do so much more for our economy if we did a better job of laying out the welcome mat for international travelers. In fact, if we restored our share of the travel market to its 2000 level we could create more than 450,000 jobs by 2020. We need to broaden visa waiver programs, limit wait times at customs, and implement trusted traveler programs to reduce the hassles without jeopardizing safety. We need to let the world know we want their business, and that means we need to make travel promotion a priority. The Chamber is: Encouraging Congress and the administration to expand the Visa Waiver Program and address delays, backlogs, and disruptions in our immigration and border management systems that impede the movement of legitimate businesses and tourists traveling across U.S. borders. Supporting “trusted traveler” programs to reduce airport screening delays and encourage and expedite travel for those who pass a rigorous background check. Ensuring the travel and tourism industry, largely populated by small businesses, is not subject to undue taxes and regulations. Urging lawmakers to adequately fund infrastructure to make travel to and within the United States more efficient, quicker, and more hassle-free.  America is leaving travel-related jobs and revenues on the table because we’re not laying out the welcome mat for business travelers and tourists. We need to ensure that when tourists are ready to travel and business people are ready to make deals, they come to the greatest travel destination of them all—the United States of America.