A Washington staff briefing on the new Congressional Caucus for Middle Market Growth—“Middle Market 101”—drew more than 50 lawmakers and business leaders to Capitol Hill in May, as issues facing mid-sized companies gain the attention of lawmakers and the broader public.
The middle market’s role in U.S. economic growth was detailed by a notable panel of speakers, including Pam Hendrickson, global chairman of ACG and chief operating officer of The Riverside Company; Thomas A. Stewart, executive director for the National Center for the Middle Market; and Isabel Fernandez, chief commercial officer for GE Capital, Americas.
“The middle market has often felt left out when it comes to policy debates and considerations,” said Hendrickson in her introductory remarks. “We believe this forum will enable all of you to have a more comprehensive understanding of what we call the mighty middle market and how this segment benefits the entire U.S. economy.”
The caucus will help give voice to the more than 200,000 companies in the middle market that provide one-third of U.S. GDP, a sector that employs more than 44 million people and includes recognizable names like Caribou Coffee and Tootsie Roll. The caucus was formed by Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) in collaboration with ACG and the National Center for the Middle Market.
Middle-market companies are looking for assurances from Washington, said Schneider. He called middle-market employers the sort of “prudent risk-takers” that Washington should support to help grow the economy and create jobs. Rice said he hopes his fellow lawmakers work to lessen the burden of regulations on mid-sized firms; they face more regulatory burdens than small businesses, which are exempt from many regulations, and giant multinational companies armed with big pockets and extensive resources.
The briefing was followed by a celebratory reception of more than 100 attendees, including members of Congress, business leaders and congressional staff. Stivers and Polis each described the significance of the caucus and encouraged their colleagues in the House to join as members.