Academics, lawmakers and business leaders gathered on Capitol Hill at the end of May for the launch of the new Congressional Caucus for Middle Market Growth. The caucus will help give voice to the more than 200,000 companies of the middle market and is co-chaired by Reps. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.), and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.).

Rep. Steve Stivers, one of the co-chairs for the Congressional Caucus for Middle Market Growth, with Thomas A. Stewart, Executive Director, National Center for the Middle Market

Highlights of the Discussion

The middle market employs more than 44 million people and includes companies such as Caribou Coffee and Tootsie Roll. "They're bigger than a breadbox but smaller than a Fortune 500 company," Thomas A. Stewart, executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market, told the audience of more than 50 people gathered in the Cannon House Office Building.

Rep. Schneider emphasized that middle market companies are looking for certainty from Washington and thanked his fellow lawmakers for being willing to work across the aisle.

Lawmakers, he said, need to embrace risk takers and called middle market employers the sort of "prudent risk-takers" that Washington should support to help grow the economy and create jobs.

Rep. Rice also spoke, and said he's hoping his fellow lawmakers work to lessen the burden that regulations have on mid-sized firms.

Middle market companies usually have a harder time weathering new regulations, Mr. Stewart and others said. Unlike small businesses, which are exempt from many regulations, and giant multinational companies with lots of resources, mid-sized firms bear the brunt of regulations.

Isabel Fernandez, chief commercial officer at GE Capital, Americas, said mid-sized firms are run efficiently and want to export but often need help navigating foreign trade.

Pam Hendrickson, global chairman of the Association for Corporate Growth and chief operating officer of The Riverside Company, a private equity firm, said her company invests in mid-sized firms. She said many of them look to Riverside for expertise on how to grow their businesses or face economic headwinds.

For more information about the caucus and the middle market, please see the following:

  • An op-ed in The Hill
  • The website of the National Center for the Middle Market, which is a collaboration between GE Capital and The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business
  • The website for the Association for Corporate Growth