Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the historic economic recovery under President Biden’s leadership and the need to pass legislation to fix supply chains and lower costs. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Last year, the CBO projected that the US economy would reach a growth rate of about 3.5% by the end of 2021.
The International Monetary Fund had a rosier outlook: they said economic growth could be closer to 4%.
The Federal Open Market Committee was perhaps the most optimistic, forecasting a growth rate of about 4.3%.
They were all wrong: in 2021, the US economy shattered most expectations and grew at the amazing rate of 5.7%, the strongest rate since the time of Ronald Reagan.
This was no accident – far from it. Last year’s historic turnaround is a reminder that the right leadership in government matters. Democrats promised in 2020 to fix Donald Trump’s utter mismanagement of the COVID Crisis and get our country back on track—and a year later, after securing the strongest growth rate in decades, Democrats are delivering on that promise.
After Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, I said “help is on the way.” And that help is getting America on a path back to normal. And though we still are learning to live with the virus, our economy, our communities, and our schools are better off because of vaccines, because of testing, and because of targeted legislation we passed last year like the Restaurants Act and Save Our Stages.
And I want to stress an important point that is forgotten too often: we are finally seeing wages go up. That’s dollars in working people’s pockets. For decades economists have decried the lack of wage growth in America. Lack of wage growth has been the scourge of our economy for so long, as it effects average working folks. Closing off opportunity for millions of hard working people who’ve worked harder and harder only to see their lives deteriorate.
Now, we’re finally seeing signs that wages are going up, and that’s going to stay for years to come.
This is real progress for working families. As we keep fighting to lower costs, we Democrats are going to do everything we can to see that this large wage growth remains and continues, and that will mean better lives for the American people.
We know the work is not done. We know we must keep working to help Americans lower costs so they can better afford the basics—from health care and prescription drugs, to daily essentials like groceries, to the costs of higher education. Addressing these issues remains our focus.
We also must address strained and broken supply chains. Later this week the House will take up a long-awaited USICA Bill by passing a companion, the America COMPETES Act. I've been working very hard to make sure that this happens. Once conferenced, this legislation would bring manufacturing back to America. Instead of sending jobs overseas, this bill will say buy America, keep the jobs here. We saw what just happened in Ohio, in the advent: thousands and thousands of new jobs in manufacturing.
So this legislation is going to bring manufacturing back to America, bring jobs over here, good-paying jobs back here. It would strengthen domestic supply chains, and thus reduce our costs and in particular help address our country’s semiconductor shortage, a driver of rising costs in so many different things, from cars to cell phones.
Finally, all this is a reminder of what Democrats at our core stand for: building ladders of opportunity for working Americans to get to the middle class, and providing stability to those already in the middle class so they can stay there and thrive. And wages are going up is a large part of that, and this administration's record on wage increases is something we haven't seen in decades.
We still have more work to do to bring our country out of the rubble of COVID so that we can look confidently into the future. But the growth of last year showed we are well on our way—and Democrats will keep working to help working people, working families, middle class families, poorer families trying to get to the middle class, have the kind of prosperity and help they need and deserve.