News / USA

Obama Enlisting Business Support for Spending, Debt Plans

President Barack Obama speaks to members of the Business Roundtable, a trade group representing America’s largest corporation, in Washington, Sept. 18, 2013.
President Barack Obama speaks to members of the Business Roundtable, a trade group representing America’s largest corporation, in Washington, Sept. 18, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama is asking prominent business leaders to help resolve contentious spending and debt issues facing the country.

Obama met Wednesday in Washington with the Business Roundtable, whose members include executives from some of the biggest American corporations, including the Exxon Mobil oil conglomerate, the Boeing aircraft company and the Coca-Cola beverage firm.

The American leader asked the corporate leaders to lobby Congress to approve a spending plan for the year starting October 1, to keep the government from a partial shutdown, and to increase the country's $16.7 trillion borrowing limit so the U.S. does not default on its financial obligations.

"It is going to be important for all of you, I think, over the next several weeks to understand what's at stake and to make sure that you are using your influence in whatever way you can to get back to what used to be called regular order around here, doing things in a way that reflect the genuine, messy negotiations of democracy, but do not promise apocalypse every three months," said Obama.

Obama, a Democrat, and his Republican opponents in Congress are at odds over the size of the government's budget for the upcoming year, spending priorities and the debt limit. Some conservative lawmakers are trying to end funding for Obama's signature health care reforms that will be taking effect in the coming months in exchange for agreeing to a spending plan and debt limit increase.

The president and his Democratic colleagues in Congress, however, have rejected efforts to overturn the health care law, leaving the two parties at a stalemate.

Ahead of the meeting with Obama, Boeing's president, James McNerney, said the business leaders are not taking sides in the Washington political dispute over the government's finances.

McNerney said, "We want compromises to be found."

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