Head of U.S. Chamber addresses opposition to human infrastructure bill; Manchin says time to pause

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — The president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says her organization is working against the $3.5 trillion human infrastructure bill under consideration in Congress.

Suzanne Clark (USCC)

Suzanne Clark is in West Virginia this week. She’s one of the speakers at the state Business Summit at the The Greenbrier Resort hosted by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. During an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” Thursday, Clark called the bill “a $3.5 trillion tax and spending spree.”

“Even Senator Manchin (U.S.Senator Joe Manchin) said (during his Business Summit comments Wednesday) ‘it’s time to pause this bill until we get through to the other side of uncertainty,'” Clark said. “At the U.S. Chamber we don’t want to pause it, we want to kill it.”

Clark said the bill comes at the wrong time.

“We think this has the potential to drive taxes up too high, that would drive inflation up too high, maybe even permanently,” Clark said.

The U.S. Chamber supports the other infrastructure bill, which also has a price tag of more than $3 trillion, which has been passed by the U.S. Senate.

“This is a bipartisan bill that has a good model for how Congress can actually address problems. You look at this $3.5 trillion nonsense and this is a partisan bill,” Clark said.

She said the first bill will keep overdue promises.

“It’s stuff we’ve wanted to get done; roads, bridges, critical infrastructure in this country, everything that matters to us. We’ve been trying to get these things for over a decade and we’re really anxious for the House to pass it and get it on the president’s desk,” Clark said.

The bill includes $3 billion for West Virginia highways and $500 million for fix bridges in the Mountain State.

“It’s a good deal,” Clark said.

On another topic, Smith admitted more needs to be done to increase workforce participation in West Virginia and across the nation.

“It’s a complicated problem that’s going to require sophisticated solutions. There isn’t just a silver bullet,” Clark said, calling worker shortage a crisis.

Clark said simply paying people more isn’t the lone answer. She said there isn’t an endless supply of money.

“I’m more worried about the availability of supply. I’m worried about people staying home because of schools being closed and about people not having the right skills for the jobs that are out there,” Clark said.

The human infrastructure bill address some of the issues but they should be separated out, Clark said.

“It may have a couple pieces in it of problems we’d like to solve but not this big, not paid for by this amount of taxes and not this way,” Clark said.

The Business Summit continues through Friday.

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