If the United States continues its progress on vaccinating Americans against the coronavirus—a recent average of 3 million doses per day—then it will likely experience strong economic growth in 2021. (As much as 8 percent GDP growth according to one estimate.) But there are a number of factors that could threaten this recovery—new variants, anti-vaccine sentiment, low vaccine demand, lack of access to vaccines, disparate vaccination rates across different populations, the relaxing of mask and physical distancing guidelines and fatigue with these guidelines, and the inequitable distribution of vaccines among high-, middle- and low-income countries.

Chairman Beyer on the Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act: Enactment was Beginning of the End of an American Horror Story

In August, Chairman Beyer Spoke with Leading Housing Discrimination Expert Richard Rothstein as Part of an Ongoing Effort to Meet with Experts about Issues Affecting the Economy

Apr 08 2021

Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement ahead of the 53rd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law on April 11, 1968.
Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 916,000 in March and the unemployment rate fell to 6.0%. The unemployment rate was 9.6% for Black workers and 7.9% for Hispanic workers.

Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, released the following statement after the Senate voted by voice vote to confirm Adewale O. Adeyemo as Deputy Treasury Secretary.

Deputy Secretary Adeyemo is the first Black American to serve in this role. He will serve under the leadership of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the first woman to serve in that role.

“Deputy Secretary Adeyemo brings to his new role a wealth of expertise and experience from across the executive branch, having served in a variety of key economic leadership positions. That experience includes the Department of the Treasury, where he is now the highest-ranking Black American in the Department’s history.

“Deputy Secretary Adeyemo will use the powers of the Treasury the way they should be used: to ensure our economy is working for all, not just a fortunate few. As he said during his confirmation hearing testimony, if long-term economic growth is our goal then ensuring that all Americans can share in our nation’s prosperity is not only a moral imperative it is an economic one.

“I congratulate Deputy Secretary Adeyemo on his confirmation and look forward to working with him.”

Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement on Equal Pay Day, March 24—the day through which the typical woman would have had to work to earn what the typical man earned the previous year.

In 2019 (the most recent data), the typical woman working full-time, year-round earned 82.3% of what her male counterpart earned (a pay gap of nearly 18%). The gender wage gap is even worse for women of color. On average, Black women earned just 63 cents, Native American women 60 cents and Latinas 55 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earned.

“The gender wage gap can cost women hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a career. It hurts the nation since the hundreds of billions of dollars in lost wages are also lost GDP. If long-term economic growth is our goal, then closing the gender wage gap is not just a moral imperative, it is an economic one in a nation where two-thirds of mothers are either the primary breadwinner or co-breadwinner in their families.

“It is long past time that Congress pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which House Democrats are moving forward in committee today. By closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Paycheck Fairness Act would make it easier for women to challenge pay discrimination, bringing our nation one step closer to ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work.”

The Paycheck Fairness Act bans retaliation against workers who voluntarily discuss or disclose their wages, provides effective remedies for women who are not being paid equal pay for equal work, and requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons.

Last week, the JEC Democrats released a Women’s History Month chart pack, which includes charts for Equal Pay Day, as well as others about the economic status of women.

After Vote by Members, JEC Ready to Begin Official Business for the 117th Congress

Members Voted to Confirm Beyer as Chairman, Heinrich as Vice Chairman and Lee as Ranking Member

Mar 18 2021

Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) released the following statement after members of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) voted to confirm him as Chairman, making him the first Democrat to serve in this role since Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) during the 112th Congress (2011-2013). Members also voted to confirm Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) as Vice Chairman and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) as Ranking Member.

On Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she was recommending Congressman Beyer to chair the JEC, which, at the time, made him Chairman-designate. That recommendation had to be confirmed by a majority vote of the full committee. Now that Congressman Beyer and the other JEC leaders are confirmed, the committee can begin official business for the 117th Congress.

“During this tough time for the U.S. economy, I am humbled and honored to have the confidence of Speaker Pelosi and my colleagues to lead the 75-year-old Joint Economic Committee, a committee that not only investigates important issues impacting our economy but also serves as an economic think tank for Congress.

“Over the past year we have seen in no uncertain terms that our economy is not working for all. As chairman, I am looking forward to getting to work on ways to change this so all Americans— people of color, women, low-wage workers, essential workers, young people looking for their first job, families looking to buy their first home and others—can have a fair shot at achieving the American dream.”

A full list of committee members is below.

House Members

Democrats

  • Representative Don Beyer (D-VA-08) - Chairman
  • Representative David Trone (D-MD-06)
  • Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03)
  • Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI-02)
  • Representative Scott Peters (D-CA-52)
  • Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS-03)

 

Republican

  • Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ-06)
  •    Representative Darin LaHood (R-IL-18)
  • Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-03)
  • Representative Ron Estes (R-KS-04)

 

Senate Members

Democrats

  • Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) – Vice Chairman
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
  • Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ)
  • Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA)

 

Republicans

  • Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) – Ranking Member
  • Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
  • Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
  • Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Today, Democrats on the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC)–Chairman-designate Don Beyer (D-VA), Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA)—sent a letter to the Biden-Harris Administration urging them to develop a plan for sharing surplus coronavirus vaccine doses equitably with low- and middle-income countries, specifically a plan that includes donating the surplus doses to the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative.

While the Biden-Harris Administration’s first priority must be ensuring that all people in the United States who want a vaccine are able to get one as quickly as possible, helping to ensure that those who live in low- and middle-income countries are able to do the same will not only prevent COVID variants from spreading to the United States and other countries, it will also prevent the loss of trillions of dollars to the global economy.

The United States has secured 1.3 billion doses of vaccine, enough to vaccinate 750 million people—more than twice the U.S population. For every $1 spent on supplying vaccines to low-income countries, high-income countries would see a return of $4.80, according to one estimate.

JEC Democrats:

“As of March 8, 2021, high-income countries had purchased 63 percent of the total COVID-19 vaccines that had been purchased worldwide, despite representing only 16 percent of the world’s population. Meanwhile, low- and middle-income countries lag far behind, securing only 37 percent of vaccine despite representing 84 percent of the world’s population.

“This disparity in vaccine access can have profound humanitarian costs. It also threatens global pandemic recovery efforts. The longer it takes for all countries to vaccinate their populations, the more variants will emerge. [And] if governments do not ensure low- and middle-income countries have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, the global economy could lose $1.2 trillion a year.”

Full text of the letter is here and below:

March 15, 2021

Jeffrey Zients
Response Coordinator
White House Coronavirus Task Force
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Zients,

We applaud the Administration’s decision to donate surplus doses to low- and middle-income countries that lack access to COVID-19 vaccines. We write to you today to urge the Administration to develop a plan for donating those surplus doses equitably that includes working through the COVAX initiative. This not only will serve a humanitarian purpose by saving lives worldwide, but it is essential for protecting Americans from the possible proliferation of COVID variants as the virus continues to spread.

The United States has secured 1.3 billion doses of vaccine, enough to vaccinate 750 million people—more than twice the U.S population. We recognize that the Biden Administration’s first priority is to ensure that all people in the United States who want a vaccine are able to get one as quickly as possible. The Administration is making good progress on meeting this objective. As of March 11, 2021, over 98.2 million doses have been administered, and 10 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while 19 percent have received at least one dose. The President projects that the United States will have enough vaccine to immunize all American adults by the end of May.

The story is vastly different across the low- and middle-income world, where only a small fraction of people has been vaccinated. This is largely due to profound disparities in the number of vaccines purchased by high-income countries and the rest of the world. As of March 8, 2021, high-income countries had purchased 63 percent of the total COVID-19 vaccines that had been purchased worldwide, despite representing only 16 percent of the world’s population. Meanwhile, low- and middle-income countries lag far behind, securing only 37 percent of vaccine despite representing 84 percent of the world’s population.

This disparity in vaccine access can have profound humanitarian costs. It also threatens global pandemic recovery efforts. As emphasized by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, “if the virus is allowed to spread like wildfire in the global South, it will mutate again and again…prolong[ing] the pandemic significantly, enabling the virus to come back to plague the global North.” The longer it takes for all countries to vaccinate their populations, the more variants will emerge.

Inequitable global vaccination efforts will also negatively impact the economy. If governments do not ensure low- and middle-income countries have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, the global economy could lose $1.2 trillion a year. For every $1 spent on supplying vaccines to low-income countries, high-income countries would see a return of $4.80, according to one estimate.

We recognize and applaud the Administration’s efforts to date to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries, in particular the $4 billion contributed to COVAX. To stave off further loss of life and suffering and end this pandemic for good, more must be done to ensure the battle against COVID-19 is won globally.

For these reasons, we believe it is imperative that the Administration begin to chart its plan for donating surplus vaccine supply to low- and middle-income countries. To ensure equitable distribution of the surplus doses to the countries that need it most, we strongly recommend that the Administration’s plan include donating the surplus vaccine to COVAX.

As your partners in Congress, we look forward to working with you and the rest of the Biden Administration to ensure national and global pandemic recovery efforts are as equitable and effective as possible.

Sincerely, 

Don Beyer
Chairman-designate, Joint Economic Committee
Member of Congress

Mark Pocan
Member of Congress

Scott Peters
Member of Congress

If Confirmed, Beyer to Focus on Economic Inequality, Climate Change, Corporate Governance and Other Issues.

Washington, D.C.—Today, Speaker Pelosi announced that she is recommending Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) to chair the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC). If confirmed, Congressman Beyer will become the first Democrat to chair the JEC since Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) chaired the committee during the 112th Congress (2011-2013).

In response to Speaker Pelosi’s announcement, Congressman Beyer issued the following statement:

“I am humbled and honored to have Speaker Pelosi’s confidence to lead the 75-year-old Joint Economic Committee, a committee that not only investigates important issues impacting our economy but also serves as an economic think tank for Congress.

“Congress’s stewardship of the U.S. economy is one of its most important responsibilities, especially now as the American people look to the federal government to help them recover and rebuild from the recession. I will approach this responsibility with the seriousness it deserves, guided by my belief that the federal government can and should be a force for good in helping to support American businesses and workers.

“As someone who built a small family-owned business over the course of four decades, I know what American businesses and workers are going through during this troubling time for the U.S. economy, and will use my position as chair to ensure we build our economy back better. Better days are ahead for the U.S. economy but only if we ensure it works for all—people of color, women, low-wage workers, essential workers, young people looking for their first job, families looking to buy their first home and others.

“To that end, as chair, I plan to return the committee’s focus to core issues facing the country, including economic inequality, climate change, corporate governance, health care and college affordability. I look forward to working with all of my colleagues on the Joint Economic Committee on these issues and others during the 117th Congress.”

Speaker Pelosi’s recommendation must be confirmed by a vote of the full committee to take effect. In addition to recommending Congressman Beyer to chair the JEC, Speaker Pelosi announced the House Democratic members of the committee:

  • Representative Don Beyer (D-VA-08) - Chair-designate
  • Representative David Trone (D-MD-06)
  • Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03)
  • Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI-02)
  • Representative Scott Peters (D-CA-52)
  • Representative Sharice Davids (D-KS-03)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Senate Democratic members of the committee a few weeks ago:

  • Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) – Vice Chair-designate
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
  • Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ)
  • Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA)

Leadership of the JEC alternates between the Senate and House each Congress. During the 116th Congress, the committee was chaired by Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).