Vice President’s Ceremonial Office
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
2:04 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: So, today, I have asked American business leaders to join me here to have a discussion about the economy of our country and one of the most important foundations of the economy of our country, which is our small businesses.
Our small business leaders — they at this table and the many that they represent — really are part of the backbone of our country, not only in terms of our economy — it is also the case that our small business leaders, our civic leaders, they are community leaders. The businesses they lead not only employ people from communities, not only train and support people within those communities, but they are also part of the fabric of the culture of the communities in which they exist and reflective of the culture of the communities in which they do their business and/or work.
And so, I asked these leaders, who happen to all be women — (laughter) — and also, on the occasion of our honoring every day — every day of the year, but in particular this month, Hispanic Heritage Month — to talk with me about the work they are doing, but also the challenges that they face and the work we can do together.
Our administration cares deeply about the issue of what we can do to not only strengthen our economy, but to support small businesses. One of the areas that I’ve been focused on with a great deal of attention is what we do to increase access to capital for our small businesses, with a particular emphasis on minority- and women-owned small businesses, who among our small businesses have historically faced the greatest challenges, in terms of access to capital.
So, we will talk about that. We will talk about the challenge that all working people face when it comes to a structure around them that supports their desire and intention to work, which is: Are the structures around them designed in such a way to give them the support to work, whether it be to own and run a small business or work in a small business?
An example of that point is our care economy, and what are we doing in terms of childcare and eldercare. What do we need to do more in terms of having a system that says paid family leave is in the best interest of the business and the community and its workers? These are the kinds of issues that we will discuss.
But these leaders represent everything from smaller to larger small businesses. We have, in this room, the leaders of a restaurant group, a construction company, an architectural design firm, a 200-plus-employee childcare center, an IT consulting firm, and so much more.
And we have convened these leaders also with the intention of making it clear that when we’re talking about Hispanic small businesses and business leaders, we are talking about every kind of business — ranging, again, from architectural to IT to all of the things that require us to actually be productive as a society.
And so I want to make a point of emphasizing that our focus on these businesses is about a focus across our economy in the very disciplines and the variety of disciplines that are necessary to have a productive society.
And the solutions that our administration is offering are present in our philosophy and theory and policies across a wide range but, in particular, as it related to this week and the coming weeks, in our infrastructure plan — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan; present in the Build Back Better plan.
And so, on the access to capital piece, also was present in the American Rescue Plan, which included $30 billion going to small businesses, including $28 billion in the restaurant fund, and $7 billion for PPP, and $100 million for programs to help small businesses navigate the system.
In terms of our Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, that was about helping folks competitive and understanding that an investment in roads and transit and Internet — and let’s remember that, especially when we’re talking about, demographically, who has access to Internet, we know that certain communities are disproportionately left out of that access, and the Hispanic community is one of them. And that means an impact not only on our children’s ability to do their homework, but a business’s ability to run.
And then, on the issue of allowing and supporting our businesses to stay competitive, there’s the Build Back Better plan, which is about lowering costs for things like childcare, elder care. It is about cutting taxes for families with children through the Child Tax Credit. And creating jobs — and that’s about workforce training and apprenticeships, which is about upskilling workers and allowing them to meet their potential with a lot of the support that all people require to do just that.
So, I’m looking forward to our conversation. I welcome you. I want to particularly thank Congresswoman Barragán for your longstanding leadership in the United States Congress on these issues and so many more.
And we will now begin our discussion. But welcome, again, to all of you.
END 2:10 P.M. EDT