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Rebuild our Economy and Stand up for Small Businesses

Suzanne Bonamici- Rebuild our Economy and Stand up for Small BusinessesAs your Congresswoman, job creation is my first priority. We need a local approach to putting people back to work and we need Congress to focus on results instead of scoring political points. More effective leadership in Congress will also inspire certainty and confidence in the private sector, which will be the source of our long-term economic recovery. Our businesses and consumers are delaying investments and purchases in part because they are uncertain about the future, and American families are paying the price as people remain unemployed because our businesses are not able to hire in significant numbers.

Actions speak louder than words – and Congress should start acting in a way that grows the economy while also protecting our most vulnerable citizens and rebuilding and supporting a vibrant middle class.

Action: Put People Back to Work Now

Invest in our communities. It is time to rebuild our economy by rebuilding America. We must invest in infrastructure and put Oregonians back to work building roads, bridges, water systems, and electrical grids. And if we retrofit buildings, just as we are starting to do in Oregon schools, we can create jobs and save energy and money.

Increase access to capital for small businesses. For many Americans, owning a successful business is the path to achieving the American Dream. Small businesses are a critical engine of job growth and economic prosperity, which is why I introduced and passed legislation as a state legislator to help small businesses access capital so that they can grow, create jobs, and increase their bottom line. The federal government can boost its efforts to do the same, helping businesses looking to grow find low-cost capital. In Congress, I have continued to fight for legislation like the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, which will create new opportunities for small businesses to access the capital they need to grow and thrive through credit unions. My record demonstrates why Oregonians can trust that I fight hard for small business in Congress.

Help businesses keep people working. With the lingering effects of the recession on businesses, the federal government should promote and support the use of work share programs. Oregon is one of many states with work share programs, but the programs are rarely used. Work share programs help businesses avoid lay-offs. Instead of lay-offs, hours are cut and through already allocated unemployment insurance, the government helps to fill the gap in pay. The result: Oregonians keep their jobs and businesses and government both save money.

Action: Secure a Prosperous Economic Future

Strengthen public education. A strong system of public education is the key to our economic recovery and the heart of our democracy. We must stop seeing education as a budget item that can be cut when times are tough; that is when it is most critical to improve education as a long-term solution to secure our economic future. We must empower public schools to give our children the education they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive global economy.

Link universities and community colleges to business. It is important for our universities, community colleges, and businesses to create systems that can link job seekers with the education they need to qualify for high-demand jobs and provide the workforce training Oregon businesses need. As a state legislator, I worked on legislation that connects job seekers to the training and certifications they need to qualify for jobs in sectors such as health care and welding, as well as in new sectors like wind power and other clean technologies.

Enact strong consumer protection laws to prevent another financial crisis. After the crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, Congress passed laws to regulate the stock market and stop corporate abuses. Now Congress must assure that we once again have strong consumer protection laws to rebuild consumer confidence and prevent another financial crisis. As a member of Congress, I aim to ensure that our marketplace is fair for both consumers and businesses and that the rules are enforced.