White House seeks to ease tensions with business

* Rift with businesses could cost Obama politically

* Healthcare, financial bill are concerns for businesses

* Obama administration says it has “open door”

By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON, July 13 (BestGrowthStock) – The White House moved on
Tuesday to ease simmering tensions with the business community,
telling corporate executives it has an “open door” and pledging
to listen to their ideas.

President Barack Obama has come under criticism by some
business groups, which charge that the administration’s
regulatory and fiscal agenda is leading to uncertainty and is
dampening job growth.

The healthcare reform legislation, financial regulatory
reform and proposals to cap carbon emissions are cited by some
in corporate America as examples of regulatory overreach.
Business groups have also criticized Obama’s fiscal policies,
warning of the danger of high deficits.

The administration has responded with efforts to reach out,
including a June 30 meeting with the Business Roundtable, one
of the main U.S. business lobbying groups.

As a follow-up to that meeting, the White House promised
the group it would listen to its input, according to a copy of
a letter from senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett to the
Business Roundtable released on Tuesday.

“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.

The Obama administration has also undertaken a review of
federal regulations and sought input on how to make them less
burdensome to businesses.

REVIEW OF REGULATIONS

“Our approach to regulation is a pragmatic, commonsense one
that is evidence-based and data-driven,” said White House
deputy communications director Jen Psaki. “We want regulations
that protect the health and well-being of the American people
while promoting, and not undermining, economic growth.”

The Business Roundtable brings together chief executives of
companies including American Express Co, Honeywell
International Inc and Boeing Co.

The group’s current chairman is Ivan Seidenberg, chief
executive of Verizon Communications. Seidenberg, in a speech
last month, complained of a “disconnect” between Washington and
the business community he said was harming job growth.

But in correspondence with Jarrett following the June 30
meeting, his tone was cordial. Seidenberg listed some concerns
he hoped the administration could address, including a
corporate tax structure that businesses view as hampering their
competitiveness, deficit reduction and trade issues.

He said his group supports a “common goal” of boosting jobs
and spurring economic growth.

The release of the correspondence comes a day before
another large business group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is
scheduled to hold a “Jobs for America Summit.”

Chamber CEO Tom Donohue is expected to issue an open letter
to Obama and Congress that will urge “immediate action to
address the new regulatory stranglehold placed on America’s job
creators.”

Tensions with the business community could pose political
problems for Obama at a time when his Democrats are trying to
fend off a challenge to their dominance in Congress ahead of
the November midterm elections. Republicans are eager to try to
pin an “anti-business” label on Obama.

The administration also has other reasons for wanting to
avoid a rift with the business community.

U.S. business are holding onto some $1.8 trillion in cash,
according to the Federal Reserve. The Obama administration
wants to encourage them to invest some of that money to help
jump-start a U.S. economic recovery that has so far been
lackluster.

(Writing by Caren Bohan)

White House seeks to ease tensions with business