Washington–Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) along with Representatives Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) led a number of their congressional colleagues in a bicameral request urging President Biden to form an initiative to coordinate federal policies that will reshape and rebuild the economy so that it works for all. In a pair of letters penned by the three Senators and 18 House Representatives, the lawmakers requested that the proposed White House Initiative on Inclusive Economic Growth – originally envisioned by a coalition of impact-oriented organizations – build on the administration’s ongoing efforts to address three monumental crises facing the nation: the COVID-19 economic fallout; a widening racial wealth gap; and climate change.
“While we support passing much of your Build Back Better Agenda through a budget reconciliation package, we believe it is also essential that the Administration prioritize executive action to reform capitalism in such a way that short-term profits and shareholder primacy no longer take center stage,” wrote the senators. “A White House Initiative on Inclusive Economic Growth could play a central coordinating role between policy councils, executive agencies, and independent agencies in promoting equitable economic policy. The Initiative could also serve to convene private sector and civil society organizations that increasingly recognize the critical nature of a transition towards stakeholder capitalism.”
The senators continued, “By changing the incentives for corporations and investors, we can lessen the disregard too often shown towards workers, environmental harms, or racial and gender inequity. And by renewing focus on community investing, we can work to mitigate the historic harms of disinvestment in Black, brown, tribal, and rural communities.”
In a separate letter, the representatives wrote, “The past year has exacerbated existing crises and brought the United States to an existential crossroads. The pandemic and the resulting economic fallout, systemic racial injustice, and the rising threat of climate change call for bold but necessary action: rebuilding our economy so that it works for all Americans. To address these issues, we need to change the underlying structures that have perpetuated them.”
“Several agencies are already beginning to prioritize more inclusive economic growth and community investing, including Treasury, the SEC, the Department of Commerce and others. In order to realize the full potential of these reforms across the federal government, we need coordination and prioritization from the Biden Administration,” the representatives continued. “The principles behind stakeholder capitalism and community investing are increasingly being embraced across industries and in both the public and private sectors. With this new Initiative, we believe the White House can tap into a growing movement and ensure we transform these ideas into lasting, impactful policy.”
This bicameral effort has the support of organizations like B Lab and USIIA.
“We are motivated and excited by the support we are seeing for the White House Initiative on Inclusive Economic Growth. Now, more than ever, we have the momentum to drive inclusive economic growth through a partnership with the White House and Congress, have a say in rules and incentives for many of our decision-makers in corporate boardrooms and on Wall Street, and catalyze new investment for small businesses that line Main Street,” said Andrew Kassoy, co-founder and CEO of B Lab, a global network of organizations transforming the global economic system and one of the more than 50 organizations calling for the proposed White House Initiative.
“We are thankful for the leadership and support we have received from Sen. Warner, Reps. Phillips and Cicilline and many of their colleagues. The proposed initiative is the brainchild of more than 50 organizations that have dedicated their work to driving impact for underserved communities and in turn, building toward a more just and equitable economy. We look forward to partnering with Congress, the Administration and peers in the private sector on this once-in-a-generation opportunity to build back better and ensure that local economies and the capital markets work for all Americans,” said Fran Seegull, president of U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, one of the more than 50 organizations calling for the proposed White House Initiative.
Joining Representatives Phillips and Cicilline on the House letter were Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), André Carson (D-Ind.), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Donald Beyer Jr. (D-Va.) and Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.).