Obama to host CEO summit Wednesday in outreach to business
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama will host a summit of corporate chief executives on Wednesday as his administration steps up efforts to mend relations with big business and win their support for his economic policies.
The meeting with 20 business leaders could also help build momentum for a compromise tax package he has worked out with resurgent Republicans but which is facing resistance from within the ranks of his own Democrats.
Among the companies expected to be represented are Google (GOOG.O), Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O), International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N), American Express Co (AXP.N), Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N) and Pepsico Inc (PEP.N).
Since his Democrats' crushing defeat in last month's congressional elections, Obama has sought to make amends with business after his ties with corporate America became strained over businesses' concerns about his healthcare overhaul, regulatory reforms and high U.S. deficits. The White House believes extending an olive branch to business will help the economy by boosting confidence and encouraging firms to invest some $2 trillion in cash they have kept on the sidelines.
"The biggest challenge we face moving forward is not competition between Democrats and Republicans, but in making sure we are preparing the next generation to compete globally," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. "The working session is an opportunity for the president to continue building strong partnerships in the business community toward that goal," she said. The conference will take place at Blair House, adjacent to the White House.
The business community has taken a mostly favorable view of the tax deal Obama reached with Republicans earlier this week for extending all Bush-era tax cuts. -Reuters