Obama to host CEO summit Wed in outreach to business

By Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (BestGrowthStock) – 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 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 summit agenda will include international trade in
addition to “taking a serious approach to our medium and
long-term federal deficits, tax reform and a balanced approach
to regulation that will promote, rather than undermine,
economic growth,” an administration official said.

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. A proposed payroll tax
holiday is especially popular among companies.

Liberal Democrats have complained, however, that Obama is
making too many concessions in tax breaks for the wealthy.

Businesses have long complained about the corporate tax
structure and say it puts them at a competitive disadvantage
globally. They have been enthusiastic about the idea of reform,
something Obama has signaled an interest in tackling.

After the Nov. 2 congressional elections, Obama said he had
to do a better job dealing with the business community. As part
of the effort to mend fences, Obama is considering delivering a
speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in January.

The White House and the chamber became bitter foes during
the election campaign over the chamber’s aggressive
fund-raising to defeat Democrats.
(Additional reporting by Caren Bohan; Editing by Vicki Allen)

Obama to host CEO summit Wed in outreach to business