The US Chamber of Commerce, the leading business lobby, unveiled its 2014 agenda Wednesday calling for policies and reforms to drive stronger growth in the nation's economy.
Tom Donohue, the Chamber's president and chief executive, said that although the economy is recovering from the Great Recession, the upturn in the past four years has been patchy.
He noted 21 million Americans are unemployed, underemployed or have given up looking for work, and income growth for the middle class has underperformed.
Donohue said the slow recovery was in part due to "misguided government policies."
"We must fix these mistakes and not repeat them going forward," said Donohue, according to the text of a speech unveiling the Chamber's jobs, growth, and opportunity agenda.
"Our nation's best days are not over, they are still yet to come," he said.
"No other country, no other people, no other society starts from such a position of strength and advantage as we do."
The world's largest economy probably grew in 2013 at a pace between just 1.8 percent and 2.0 percent, he said.
"This year we have an opportunity to turn the page," he said. "We should do considerably better this year -- with growth accelerating to near 3.0 percent."
Donohue highlighted challenges to economic growth, such as President Barack Obama's landmark health-care reform, dubbed Obamacare, which he said was costing jobs; "regulatory overreach"; and concerns about slow growth in Europe, the United States' largest trading partner.
"Our plan includes ideas to expand trade, produce more domestic energy, and improve our infrastructure -- which together would create millions of good-paying jobs. We'll push for government reform to modernize a regulatory process that hasn't been updated since Harry Truman was president" in the early 1950s, he said.
The Chamber's pro-business priorities include fixing flaws in Obamacare, protecting intellectual property, improving education and training, and adjusting social safety net entitlement programs that are piling up public debt.
The Chamber "will pull out all the stops" to get immigration reform enacted this year, he vowed.
He reiterated a call for the Obama administration to approve immediately the Keystone XL Pipeline project, which would be built through environmentally sensitive areas in the state of Nebraska, saying it will create jobs.
Noting that 2014 includes the national mid-term elections for Congress in November, Donohue said the Chamber would support candidates "who want to work within the legislative process to solve the nation's problems -- and who understand that business is not the problem, business is a big part of the solution."