Monday, February 7, 2011

Obama to Chamber of Commerce on shared goals: Making U.S. 'the best place on Earth to do business'

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Obama tours Orion Energy Systems, a power technology company in Manitowoc, Wis., in January. (Photo credit: Larry Downing/Reuters)
President Obama is extending another olive branch to the business community this morning with a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The relationship between Obama and the chamber, which represents 3 million companies and is considered to be the most powerful business lobby in Washington, was somewhat chilly during his first two years in office. The chamber and Obama butted heads on foreign money in elections, and the organization was a vocal opponent of financial services regulations and health-care reform -- arguably the two most important legislative projects on Obama's agenda. As of mid-2010, the chamber had been spending nearly $3 million a week in opposition to things such as student-loan legislation, credit-card reforms and a landmark measure that expands workers' rights to sue for equal pay.
The chamber lost on most of these battles, but the president was also hurt by the rift. Obama was slapped with an "anti-business" label that damaged his image with an American public that is still desperately concerned about the economy. At a town hall in September, Obama was on the defensive, pushing back against the idea that his record on health-care reform, financial regulation and intervention in the automobile business has hurt the markets and the business community.
But in recent months, the White House has made numerous efforts to tout causes that both sides can agree on, such as job creation. The Washington Post's Perry Bacon Jr. recently wrote that Obama had become a "cheerleader" for business and that his visits to factories were so numerous that he seems to be "the host of what feels like a looping infomercial on American innovation."
In his speech at 11:30 a.m., Obama will focus on the "mutual responsibilities" of government and business. In his weekly radio and Internet address on Saturday, Obama said he will talk about the government's "obligation to make sure that America is the best place on Earth to do business" and chief executives' duty to keep business on U.S. soil, hire Americans and pay them fairly. Obama also said he will encourage company heads to invest in clean energy.
On Friday, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling said that the relationship with the business community "feels stronger going forward."
"I think it's part of an overall feeling of increased confidence that people see the president willing and able to work together to help get some things done that matter on the economy and jobs," Sperling said at a press briefing.
Read More

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...