On Monday, December 5, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers hosted the first ever GOP Women’s CEO Panel on Jobs and the Economy. Joined by six of her female Congressional colleagues and six of the nation’s most prominent female CEO’s, the discussion centered around what Congress can do to help job creators get back to doing what they do best--creating jobs.
“America stands at an unprecedented crossroads,” said McMorris Rodgers in her opening remarks. “It’s been 34 consecutive months of unemployment above eight percent and the U.S. debt has now hit a record $15 trillion. We’re here today, as CEO’s and members of Congress alike, to say that we refuse to watch those numbers rise. We’re here to shed light on the effects current economic policies and government regulation have had on people who have experienced it the most.”
The discussion began with Dr. Alison Brown, of NAVSYS Corporation, who quickly pointed out that the policies of the current administration have not helped small businesses be competitive in the particular market in which her business operates--competing for contracts with the Department of Defense. She became the first to point out that restrictive regulations and economic uncertainty are choking the life out of small businesses in the United States. "The worst case scenario for the country," Dr. Brown expressed, "is the 'no plan' situation that now exists." Every panelist confirmed and reiterated the points raised by Dr. Brown.
One of the most interesting parts of the entire afternoon, however, was when Lisa Hook, of Neustar, Inc. began discussing the needs of her particular industry (tech), and highlighted some areas of opportunity where education is concerned. “We are not, in this country, training our kids in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). That effects not only our company...it effects the growth of the tech sector, it effects our world competitiveness, and at the end of the day it effects our national security." She went on to cite some troubling statistics. "By 2018, there will be 1.4 million computing job openings in the United States, but at the current graduation rates, only 29% of those jobs will be filled by U.S. computing graduates. The rest of those jobs will have to be filled by very qualified folks, but folks that we will have to import to the country." Janet Trautwein, National Association of Health Underwriters CEO, later added that she is finding it increasingly difficult to find applicants who have adequate writing and speaking abilities. So, while the discussion centered primarily around the role Congress needs to play in helping Americans get back to work, some vital points were raised regarding the need for preparing our children for tomorrow's job opportunities.
"We heard from Women CEO's from a variety of industries--energy, technology, defense, insurance, engineering, and health care--and while their backgrounds are different, their experience is not," said Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers. "They all cited duplicative, burdensome regulations and economic uncertainty as the major impediments to job creation and business growth. It's time we enact pro-growth policies to stimulate our economy and get Americans back to work again."
It appears that the House is very willing to do just that, with 27 bipartisan jobs bills now awaiting Senate action...now let's see if Mr. Reid and his colleagues in the Senate can manage to bring even one of them to the floor for a vote.
To view the entire panel discussion, visit this link.
Congressional Members included:
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)