White House Invites CEO Proposals on Taxes, Trade
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett invited executives to send ideas about changing the U.S. corporate tax code, reducing the deficit and expanding trade, as the Obama administration fights the perception of tensions with U.S. businesses.
“While we may disagree on some issues, we have an open door and are always willing to consider input and ideas from everyone, including the business community,” Jarrett wrote yesterday to Verizon Communications Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg, who is also chairman of the Business Roundtable, a Washington group of CEOs.
President Barack Obama has been trying to bolster relations with corporate leaders, recruiting executives for presidential committees and inviting business leaders to lunch at the White House, even as some business organizations have battled the administration on issues such as financial regulation and a health-care overhaul. Last week, Seidenberg was named to a panel on increasing U.S. exports.
Jarrett, who has been an administration ambassador to businesses, met with Seidenberg and Business Roundtable President John Castellani on June 30 to discuss a 49-page memo they had sent to White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, listing legislation they said would have “a dampening effect on economic growth and job creation.”
Financial regulatory proposals, including new rights for shareholders to nominate directors, topped the list of concerns, along with trade issues and the health-care legislation, according to the letter, written for the Business Roundtable and the Business Council.
Need for Regulations
“While we have also been clear that we will continue to disagree with some in the business community on some issues, including the need for a set of new regulations for the financial industry, we agree that it is important to avoid unjustified regulatory costs and burdens,” White House deputy communications director Jennifer Psaki said. “We have offered the opportunity to business groups to put forward suggestions for regulatory actions we can review as part of the ongoing process.”
In her letter to Seidenberg yesterday, Jarrett said she welcomed ideas about “revenue-neutral corporate tax reform” and “specific ideas to achieve the president’s goal of fiscal sustainability.”
Jarrett was responding to a July 8 letter from Seidenberg, which said Business Roundtable members are prepared to work with the White House on tax-code changes to help businesses raise capital and compete in global markets, on ways to reduce the federal deficit, and on implementing health-care legislation and financial regulations.
In a June 22 speech to the Economic Club of Washington, Seidenberg had said the government is “injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses.”
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