Economy & Jobs
A New Recovery
After nine years of steady economic growth, millions of jobs have been lost in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the unemployment rate has decreased over the last few months, it still remains historically high and each month the number of jobs permanently lost continues to grow. This economic downturn additionally has disproportionately affected Black Americans and other communities of color. Just as we did after the Great Recession, we will recover and build a stronger, fairer economy through investment in critical infrastructure and creating the conditions for innovation and job creation.
There are few districts in the nation that are home to such a diverse group of businesses as ours. The 4th District includes Fortune 100 companies, small family-owned businesses and everything in between.
Our district is home to a growing number of high-tech startups, cutting-edge manufacturers and entrepreneurs. Fostering innovation is the way forward. To ensure our entrepreneurs continue to, I have introduced legislation to help small companies go public and to help small businesses gain access to important resources for growth.
Invest in America
I believe that we must invest in the things instrumental to a strong economy: education, infrastructure and research. Our businesses cannot innovate and our families cannot prosper if we fail to maintain a resilient infrastructure and a superb system of education.
Where does government investment matter most? In things like education, transportation and basic research. Our educational achievement gap and our crumbling transportation networks – these are a real drag on economic growth. In terms of research, the phone you are carrying is testament: the semiconductors that drive it, the GPS system that powers location services and the internet it uses all grew out of public investment.
Rebuilding our deteriorating rail and highway system will create much-needed jobs and alleviate the congestion that we fight daily in Fairfield County. It is past time that we make the necessary investment to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and doing so is critical to rebuilding the economy. I will continue to focus on this issue to rebuild and invest in our nation’s infrastructure.
Relief for Working Families
Since I arrived in Congress, I have worked hard to help working families get ahead. As we struggle to contain a deadly pandemic and rebuild the economy, I believe we must center the working families who have been impacted the most. We must extend the unemployment benefits to assist families who have lost their jobs and the moratorium of evictions. During this recovery, I remain focused on providing ladders of opportunity for every American and to rebuilding a robust middle class. I support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 to help working families gain ground. I’m proud that Connecticut has already done this.
We must invest in the backbone of my district and our country: working families.
Wall Street Reform
For two centuries, US capital markets have been the envy of the world. When regulated properly, our financial industry provides safe and ready access to capital for small businesses, educational loans, and home mortgages. During the financial crisis of 2008, Wall Street engaged in excessive risk-taking, bringing turmoil and tremendous harm to the economy. We must make sure that the mistakes that caused the financial crisis are never repeated.
That’s why I took a major role in writing the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Dodd-Frank, as the Act is popularly known, helps protect Americans from the excesses that brought about the financial collapse of 2008-09. The law’s major protections are three-fold: it regulates certain derivatives, it reformed the mortgage lending market to better protect borrowers, and it created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Dodd-Frank is not perfect, and work remains to get it right over time, yet it represents an important step toward effective reform and accountability. I have stood strong against the constant attacks to tear down the protections we have worked so hard to build and return to the old, dangerous ways and will continue to do so.
Our next move is to reform the mortgage finance industry. The high cost of living in Fairfield County has had a negative impact on workforce retention, driving away the sort of workers that we want to attract. As we tackle reform of housing finance, I am focused on ways to guarantee the 30-year mortgage and increase the supply of affordable housing. I have sponsored the Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act, which ensures that new homeowners will continue to have access to the affordable, predictable financing options they need, while protecting taxpayers and our economy from future downturns. The time has come to carefully wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a way that preserves the promise of government backing for mortgages with stricter underwriting standards, while giving private market forces a growing role.