Business Leaders Comment on State of the Union Address by President Biden
Washington, DC – The American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) today issued the following statement regarding President Biden’s comment in his State of the Union address of March 1, 2022:
Under the backdrop of war and suffering which is overwhelming the lives of too many, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and the victims of war everywhere. As identified in President Biden’s address, the Russian invasion of Ukraine raises issues that are of particular concern to ASBN. The American Sustainable Business Network and most businesses understand that a vibrant democracy is essential for a vigorous entrepreneurial economy, and we are concerned about autocratic governance movements and the risk they present to a diverse, inclusive, sustainable economy.
Among the many issues brought up by this conflict, it is ASBN’s position that the continued global reliance on fossil-fuel extracting practices as a primary means of energy sourcing and manufacturing is unsustainable and highly damaging to communities and the planet. We call now for complete independence of the U.S. energy supply through a rapid transition to 100 percent renewable energy. By acting now, we will provide the stability and resiliency on which American democracy and businesses rely and guarantee a measurable benefit to our environment, economy, and global security. This crisis sheds light on many aspects of the U.S. energy sector, and we support renewed calls for greater transparency on how the energy sector is financed, operated, and regulated.
As addressed by the President, domestically the positive impact of the current Administration has been profound in a short period of time when the U.S. needed it most for American workers, businesses, and the economy. In pursuit of an inclusive, equitable, and prosperous economy, which is the mission of ASBN, the Administration has worked collaboratively with lawmakers to achieve massive progress including historic federal investments in infrastructure to improve the lives of all American families via:
- safer and more accessible transportation,
- broadband access and affordability,
- clean and safe water access, and,
- electrification of our economy to support a cleaner, safer environment that is less dependent on fossil fuel.
ASBN has been an organizing force for American businesses in its support of the Bipartisan Infrastructure law. To further advance on the infrastructure investments already in place and with more under way, ASBN and the businesses and investors we represent strongly endorse the upcoming priorities outlined by the President to support further economic recovery and resilience.
We applaud The White House on all the accomplishments of the past year and look forward to continued engagement on our shared goals not yet achieved: greater protection for working families through Paid Family & Medical Leave, greater access to capital opportunities, and continued advocacy for addressing climate crisis.
The economic and social benefits of the “bottom-up and middle-out” priorities outlined by the President today will result in making more in America, lowering costs for American families, and removing barriers for Americans to get good-paying jobs. Of particular importance to achieving a sustainable, inclusive economy, ASBN looks forward to our continued support of the following:
- Creating a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, which is critically important for economic growth and competitiveness.
- Enacting the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, such that every worker in every state must have a free and fair choice to organize or join a union, and the right to bargain collectively with their employer, without fear of intimidation, coercion, threats, and anti-union propaganda.
- Expanding skills-based hiring and increasing access to registered apprenticeships and training to create more and better pathways to the middle class for all Americans.
- Expanding programs in high-demand fields at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).
- Providing up to more than $2,000 in additional assistance to low-income students by increasing the Pell Grant award to provide more access to education beyond high school which is increasingly important for economic growth and competitiveness.
- Supporting paycheck fairness and equality to strengthen our economy and end pay discrimination.
- Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which is closer to a livable wage that state-based requirements in place today.
“While our economy appears to be quite healthy with low unemployment, this masks the real conditions in which most Americans work, which is subsisting on wages that are not livable, access that is limited by institutional shortfalls in education, transportation, communication, and other factors,” said Carolyn Pincus, ASBN’s VP of strategy and development, and interim head of policy. “The priorities outlined by the President in today’s address will help improve the access, equity, and sustainability of our society and economy, while improving our global competitiveness.”