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Chairman Smith Announces Hearing on the State of the American Economy: Appalachia

February 02, 2023

House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) announced today that the Committee will hold a field hearing on the State of the American Economy: Appalachia. The hearing will take place on Monday, February 6, 2023, in Petersburg, West Virginia. 

“During our first official hearing of the 118th Congress, we will hear directly from small business owners, workers, and families about how they have been affected by inflation, supply chain problems, and high energy costs. West Virginia will be the first among many Ways and Means Committee field hearings throughout the country, in which we will visit communities to hear firsthand from Americans about the challenges facing their families and small businesses, and how they think Congress can help. Over the next two years, this Committee will partner with the American people to develop solutions and deliver results that will make a difference in their lives.”

WHAT:                  Field hearing on the state of the American economy in Appalachia 

DATE:                    Monday, February 6, 2023 

TIME:                     11:00 AM ET 

LOCATION:         Allegheny Wood Products, 1454 Johnson Run Rd, Petersburg, WV 26847

PRESS RSVP:      Due to limited seating capacity, press who wish to attend in-person should RSVP to JP Freire and Tim Foster.

Members will be joined by the following witnesses:

  • Tom Plaugher, Vice President of Operations, Allegheny Wood Products
  • Ashley Bachman, Owner/Operator, Cheetah B’s Restaurant
  • Wylie McDade, Co-owner, Devil’s Due Distillery
  • Jamie Ward, Itmann Prep Plant Manager, CONSOL Energy
  • Additional witnesses may be announced prior to the hearing

How to Watch the Hearing:

Members of the press who wish to attend in-person should RSVP with the Committee staff listed above. Those who are unable to attend in-person can access a livestream on the Ways and Means Committee YouTube channel. NOTE: The livestream will not be available until the hearing starts.

Background Preview: Members of the press will be invited to an off-the-record call previewing the hearing. (Details forthcoming.)

About the Hearing:

  • The House Committee on Ways and Means is amplifying the voices and views of Americans living and working in diverse communities across the country. A key part of that effort is a strong emphasis on field hearings that take important conversations about the future of the country beyond the Beltway.
  • Ways and Means Republicans are taking the conversation outside of Washington so the views of Americans on the front lines of today’s economy – workers, small businesses, farmers, and families – are informing the policies coming out of the Committee and Congress.
  • These conversations will focus on the impacts of tax reform and using both tax and trade policies to strengthen the economy, to secure strategic supply chains for energy, health, and food, and to promote financial security for working families.
  • The first Ways and Means Full Committee hearing will take place in Petersburg, West Virginia, with more field hearings in other locations to follow.
  • At the hearing, witnesses – drawn from the local community – will share their own experiences and be given a platform to discuss the challenges they face in today’s economy.
    • The Congressional Budget Office has found that inflation in rural communities is 130 percent that of urban communities, which has resulted in 25 percent slower real wage growth for rural areas compared to urban areas.
    • Overall, real wages for American workers are down 3.5 percent since President Biden took office.
    • Today’s labor force participation rate of 62.3 percent remains below pre-pandemic levels.
  • This hearing will precede President Biden’s State of the Union Address and will touch on issues expected to be discussed during that event as well.