WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, today released a new report examining recent economic progress and remaining challenges facing the Black community in America.

“The data captured in this report show significant changes affecting African Americans which include both progress and areas where significant disparities remain,” said Beyer. “In the latter category, the unemployment rate for Blacks is almost twice what it is for Whites, which is unacceptable. Closing persistent, and in some cases, growing gaps between the economic experiences of White Americans and Black Americans is vital to helping our society overcome its history of racial discrimination.”

The report shows that Black Americans have made substantial progress, for example:

  • Black college graduation rates more than doubled from 1990 to 2018.
  • By 2017, the share of Black women enrolled in college exceeded the share of White men enrolled.
  • Incarceration rates for Black Americans fell by nearly one-third between 2007 and 2017.
  • The gap in life expectancy between non-Hispanic Blacks and Whites decreased between 2006-2010, though progress since has stalled.

Yet glaring inequities persist:

  • The Black unemployment rate remains twice as high as the White unemployment rate (6.0 percent vs 3.1 percent in January 2020).
  • The median net worth for White families is nearly 10 times greater than for Black families.
  • Black households earned just 59 cents for every dollar White households earned in 2018.
  • Fewer than half of Black families own their home compared to nearly three-fourths of White families.

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, issued the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payroll employment grew by 225,000 in January and the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent.

 “I’m happy to see the economy continued to add jobs at a healthy rate in January, thanks to the dynamism of American businesses. More people are returning to the workforce and that’s another positive.  

“But, there are storm clouds on the horizon, including slowing global growth and uncertainty surrounding the economic impacts of the coronavirus. The president’s ill-conceived trade war has hurt the global economy and helped push American manufacturing into recession. Even with the strong overall employment gains in the past few months, manufacturing job growth has stalled, with the sector adding no jobs over the past four months and just 6,000 over the past half a year.

“The president claimed in his State of the Union speech that we are experiencing the “best” economy in American history. However, job growth has slowed dramatically under President Trump. In the first three years of his administration, 1.5 million fewer jobs, or 42,000 per month, have been added than in the last three years of the Obama presidency. This inconvenient fact was omitted from the president’s address.

“Many people, even those working, are being left behind. The Republican tax cuts have ballooned the budget deficit, making it harder to invest in America’s future and exacerbating inequality.”

Congressman Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He represents the largest number of federal employees of any member of the House.

Press contact
Harry Gural
(202) 224-2675

WASHINGTON—Congressman Don. Beyer (VA-08), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, issued the following statement after the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its initial estimate of fourth quarter gross domestic product (GDP), showing that GDP grew at annual rate of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, the same rate as in the previous quarter. Overall, real GDP increased 2.3 percent in 2019, compared to a 2.9 percent increase in 2018.

“The president and his team promised that his tax cuts would lead to GDP growth of three to six percent. It’s now clear that they haven’t come close. We’ve now had three straight quarters of modest economic growth. Three straight quarters where business investment has fallen. Manufacturing has contracted for three of the last four quarters. Whatever short-term boost to the economy resulted from the tax cuts has worn off.

“The Republican tax law added nearly $2 trillion to the national debt but delivered little sustained benefit. Our country faces pressing economic challenges and instead of addressing those challenges, the president and Republicans in Congress chose to give very large tax cuts to those who didn’t need them and run up the deficit. We should have invested in roads and bridges and in education to prepare the next generation to compete in today’s global economy.

“While the Republican tax law did little to boost growth, the administration’s trade policies are actually slowing growth and costing consumers money. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest forecast, the administration’s tariffs will reduce real GDP by 0.5 percent this year and reduce average household income by nearly $1,300. It’s time for the administration to face this reality and change policy.”

Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He represents the largest number of federal employees of any member of the House.

 

Press contact
Harry Gural

(202) 224-2675

Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, issued the following statement after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today released its “Budget and Economic Outlook: 2020 to 2030.”

“Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin just said he still thinks the GOP tax cuts will pay for themselves. What began as a wildly unrealistic political promise has now turned into economic gaslighting. CBO’s new forecast shows just how little growth we got for the Republican tax cuts, and confirms that our children will be paying for these tax breaks for the wealthy for years to come.”

CBO forecasts a deficit of $1 trillion in 2020 and average annual deficits of $1.3 trillion between 2021 and 2030. Real GDP growth will average just 1.7 percent per year between 2021 and 2030. Deficits are projected to reach 5.4 percent of GDP by 2030. Federal debt held by the public is forecast to climb to 98 percent of GDP in 2030, up from 79 percent in 2019.

Press contact
Harry Gural
Harry_Gural@jec.senate.gov
(202) 224-2675

WASHINGTON—Congressman Don Beyer (VA-8) has been elected Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) by the Committee’s members.

“I thank my colleagues from both parties and chambers for confirming me to this position. I look forward to working with all of them and Chairman Lee in 2020 to tackle the enormous challenges facing the U.S. economy,” Congressman Beyer said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi recommended Congressman Beyer for the post. He replaces Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who stepped down as Vice Chair to chair the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Congressman Beyer represents Virginia’s 8th District, which encompasses Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County. He serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He was the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1998, and Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein under President Obama.

The JEC is a joint House-Senate committee that holds hearings and issues reports to help inform Congress’ actions on economic issues. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is Chairman of the committee in the 116th Congress. Senator Lee and Representative Beyer are joined by nine Republican and nine Democratic members.

Democratic members are Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Rep. Beyer, Rep. Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), Rep. David Trone (D-MD), Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL).

Republican members are Sen. Lee, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA). 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi today recommended Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) to serve as the Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee. If confirmed to the position, Beyer would succeed Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, following her election as Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.

Beyer issued the following statement:

“I thank Speaker Pelosi for her trust and the confidence she has shown by recommending me to lead Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee. Stewardship of the U.S. economy is one of the most important challenges facing Congress, and I will approach this responsibility with the gravity it deserves.

“As someone who built a small family-owned business, I understand the challenges facing the American economy. Through my career in public service from Richmond to the Obama Administration, and today as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I have continued to believe that government can be a force for good in helping to support American workers.

“I will bring these perspectives and my progressive values with me in the fight to address the major economic challenges of our time, including growing inequality, wage stagnation, the climate crisis, and the cost of healthcare. I look forward to working with Chairman Mike Lee and all of my colleagues on the Joint Economic Committee in 2020 and beyond.”

The Speaker’s recommendation must be confirmed by a vote of the full committee to take effect. If confirmed, Beyer, who has the most seniority of the House Democrats on the committee after outgoing Vice Chair Carolyn Maloney, will serve as the top Democrat on the panel. Leadership of the Joint Economic Committee alternates between the Senate and House each Congress, and the committee is currently chaired by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).

The Joint Economic Committee (JEC) was established by Congress in 1946 as part of the Employment Act, which also created the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. The JEC is charged with reviewing and reporting on economic conditions, and with making policy recommendations to boost the economy. In this capacity it holds annual hearings with the chairs of the Federal Reserve and the Council of Economic Advisers, in addition to hearings on other topics affecting the American economy.

Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. He serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Beyer is co-chair of the Safe Climate Caucus, co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force, and founder and co-chair of the bipartisan House Suicide Prevention Task Force. He is a Member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the New Democrat Coalition, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. He represents the largest number of federal employees of any member of the House.

Beyer directed the Obama Administration’s transition at the Department of Commerce and then served as U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein for four years. He served two terms as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor from 1990-1998, and previously owned and ran a successful family business for over 40 years.

WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, issued the following statement after the JEC’s Democratic staff published the study, “Two Years of Evidence Shows 2017 Tax Cuts Failed to Deliver Promised Economic Boost.” The publication coincides with the two-year anniversary of the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

“With the two-year anniversary of the Republican tax cuts upon us, we now have enough economic data to say definitively that they failed to deliver for American workers and families. President Trump had boasted the tax cuts would boost GDP growth to as high as 6 percent, increase annual income for families by $4,000 and help pay down the national debt. The facts show that these claims are fantastical.”

“The report shows that the 2017 tax law didn’t provide a sustained boost to GDP growth, nor did it significantly increase business investment and result in huge gains in household income. Americans would be right to feel cheated.”

“Inequality was already at an all-time high when the legislation was passed—it made things much worse. And it isn’t on track—as the administration had claimed—to “pay for itself;” instead, it will add almost $2 trillion to the national debt. That will make it harder for policymakers to fight the next recession and has already prompted Republicans to consider cuts to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.”

“Many economists agree that enacting tax cuts for the poor and middle class rather than the wealthy would have provided a solid boost to the economy. And the tax cuts had a higher price tag than many of the investments that would pay this country dividends for generations. For example, the tax cuts will cost more than twice as much as repairing our nation’s crumbling highway system. And just think what we could have done to improve childhood education with nearly $2 trillion. It’s now all too clear the tax cuts were a missed opportunity of massive proportions.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, issued the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payroll employment grew by 266,000 in November and the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent. Average hourly earnings increased 3.1 percent from the prior year.

“The job market has shown remarkable resilience in the face of the president’s increasingly erratic trade policies. But let’s not forget that Americans in many communities and parts of society still find it hard to get a well-paying job. Meanwhile the Trump administration is set on making things worse by proposing cuts to nutrition assistance; like Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, they chose the holiday season to punish households of the less fortunate.”

“There’s so much we can do to further shore up the economy and address persistent inequalities. I call on the administration to preserve and strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), rather than weaken it. And as Congress makes year-end appropriations decisions, I urge inclusion of paid leave legislation backed by the House that would allow federal workers to care for a child or sick family member without facing financial hardship. In addition, it’s important for Congress to approve a bill that would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to report economic growth by income decile and the top 1 percent. That would help us measure inequality and implement programs and policies to ensure that everyone in this country can enjoy the benefits of economic growth.”

Congresswoman Maloney, author of the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (H.R. 1534), introduced the bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in June along with Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA). Congresswoman Maloney also introduced the Measuring Real Income Growth Act (H.R. 707) this Congress and in the 115th Congress. The legislation would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to publish distributional analyses of gross domestic product.

Congresswoman Maloney is Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Press contact
Randy Woods
Randy_Woods@jec.senate.gov
(202) 224-2599

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, highlighted in a hearing today that segments of the U.S. population are still struggling despite a record-long economic recovery and low unemployment.

She was speaking at a hearing with Jerome H. Powell, who appeared before the JEC for the first time as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. He discussed his outlook on the economy in a critical moment for the Federal Reserve, which is attempting to keep unemployment low without allowing consumer prices to increase substantially. Underlying the hearing is the question of whether the economy has reached full employment.

Noting that inflation “remains comfortably below the Fed target rate,” Congresswoman Maloney asked Chairman Powell whether the Federal Reserve could allow the job market to tighten even further to draw more people into the workforce.

In a response that some interpreted as favoring low interest rates, Chairman Powell noted that the strong job market “has many beneficial side effects, including pulling people back into the labor market, including wages moving up for people at the lower end of the wage spectrum. So there's a lot to like about today's labor market, and we'd like to see it continue strong and we're using our tools to try to make that happen.”

You can watch today’s hearing, as well as read prepared testimony from Chairman Powell and Vice Chair Maloney’s opening statement, by clicking here.

Here are excerpts from Vice Chair Maloney’s opening statement:

  • “Not all demographic groups have shared equally in the economic growth of the past decade. As members of Congress, we need to serve all Americans.”
  • “[I]nflation remains comfortably below the Fed target rate. Which raises the question: has the traditional relationship between unemployment and inflation weakened? If it has, why? Is it downward price pressure from around the globe? Or, increased market concentration in certain industries in the United States eroding worker bargaining power?”
  • “And what if unemployment is extremely low – suggesting that we are at full employment, but the unemployment rate for African Americans or Latinos remains much higher? What if the unemployment rate for people in some communities, or those who work in some occupations, is stubbornly high? These are questions with wide-ranging implications for both fiscal and monetary policy.”
  • “Manufacturing is in recession, business investment has been shrinking for the past two quarters and productivity fell last quarter for the first time since 2015. Some of these more troubling developments may be a sign of a possible end to our decade-long economic expansion. Or a slow fade from the ‘sugar high’ of the 2017 tax cuts. But the most likely cause of economic uncertainty is the President’s trade war.”

Here are excerpts from Chairman Powell’s prepared testimony:

  • “Significant differences, however, persist across different groups of workers and different areas of the country: Unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanics are still well above the jobless rates for whites and Asians, and the proportion of the people with a job is lower in rural communities.”
  • “Looking ahead, my colleagues and I see a sustained expansion of economic activity, a strong labor market, and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective as most likely.”
  • “However, noteworthy risks to this outlook remain. In particular, sluggish growth abroad and trade developments have weighed on the economy and pose ongoing risks.”
  • “We see the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook of moderate economic growth, a strong labor market, and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective.”

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, issued the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payroll employment grew by 128,000 in October and the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent. Average hourly earnings increased 3.0 percent from the prior year.

“The economy continues to generate jobs at a relatively healthy pace and weather the president's self-inflicted wounds, although I am worried how long that will last. Wednesday’s report on gross domestic product confirmed the economy is slowing as the president’s trade wars and other haphazard policies cause businesses to delay and even cancel investments. Republican tax cuts didn’t come close to providing the sustained economic boost we were promised and only succeeded in making the rich even richer.”

“In fact, the president has squandered the solid economy he inherited by making income inequality worse and weakening regulations that protect workers, consumers and the environment. He has turned his back on poor and middle-class families, and overlooks the fact that black and Hispanic Americans have accumulated less wealth than other groups and that women earn less than men. The president constantly tries to take credit for an unemployment rate that had been falling for years before he took office, while ignoring that the pace of job creation has slowed.”

“There’s so much we can do to shore up the economy and address persistent inequalities. I urge Congress to pass a bill that would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to report economic growth by income decile and the top 1 percent. This would help us measure inequality and implement programs and policies to ensure that everyone in this country can enjoy the benefits of economic growth.”

Congresswoman Maloney introduced the Measuring Real Income Growth Act (H.R. 707) this Congress and in the 115th Congress. The legislation would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to publish distributional analyses of gross domestic product. The Congresswoman is Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, Acting Chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Press contact
Randy Woods
Randy_Woods@jec.senate.gov
(202) 224-2599