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Chairman Messer Leads Hearing to Address Challenges Facing Today’s American Workers

Apr 25, 2017
Press Release
CNBC’s Larry Kudlow & Mayor of La Porte, Indiana testify

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, April 25, 2017) — Republican Policy Committee Chair Rep. Luke Messer (IN-06) led the first hearing of the recently launched Task Force for the American Worker today.

The hearing, titled “An Agenda for the Modern American Worker,” focused on identifying challenges facing workers today, including a slow economic recovery, wage stagnation and a loss of faith in the American Dream.

“For generations, we’ve called it the American Dream, but it’s really the American promise… Hard work will be rewarded. Unfortunately, for many Americans, that promise no longer rings true,” Messer said. “For too many, hard work doesn’t seem to be paying off… wages are stagnant and paychecks have flat-lined. We need a renewed focus on addressing these challenges and improving opportunity for everyday working people.”

According to Gallup polls leading up to the 2016 presidential election, more than 50 percent of voters saw their economic conditions worsening. A recent Harvard Institute of Politics poll found 50 percent of millennials think the American Dream is dead.

CNBC Senior Contributor Larry Kudlow; Mayor of La Porte, Indiana Blair Milo; Associate Professor of Economics at Brown University John Friedman; and Editor of AEIdeas and a DeWitt Wallace Fellow Jim Pethokoukis testified during today’s hearing.

"The American Dream is fading for today's children,” Friedman said in his testimony. “While 90% of children born in 1940 grew to earn more than their parents, just half of kids born more recently will do so.”

“The challenge for policymakers is to find policies to make sure the US economy grows at least as fast in the future as it has in the past – and that the fruits of that growth are spread beyond New York, Boston, and Silicon Valley,” Pethokoukis said in his testimony.

Mayor Milo discussed challenges facing workers in Northern Indiana, like the skills gap and the opioid abuse epidemic.

“For many individuals, access to jobs feels limited, wages seem stagnant and a nationwide opioid crisis is devastating families,”Milo said in her testimony. “There is exciting opportunity ahead for Americans as long as we continue adapting our education pipelines to empower workers with both life and technical skills to thrive in the dynamic global marketplace.”

“Slashing business tax rates for both large and small businesses will generate significant new investment, jobs, and growth, all of which will lead to higher wages,” Kudlow said. “And when people and businesses get to keep more of what they earn, more of what they invest, and more of what they risk, they are incentivized to keep doing more of these activities.”

Today’s hearing was the first in a series of hearings the Task Force for the American Worker plans to hold to examine workforce issues, including stagnant wages and a slow economic recovery, manufacturing, higher education costs, the opioid abuse epidemic, health care, retirement security and trade.

The Task Force will seek to find solutions that help address each of these challenges. 

VIDEO of Rep. Messer discussing today’s hearing on the House Floor can be found here

PHOTOS from the hearing can be found here.

115th Congress