News / USA

Obama Courts US Business Leaders

President Obama record his weekly address for February 5, 2011
President Obama record his weekly address for February 5, 2011
Kent Klein

President Barack Obama is continuing his efforts to reach out to some of his sharpest critics in the U.S. business community. The president is hoping to ease some business leaders’ opposition to his economic plan and his re-election bid.  

America’s top business leaders, many of whom are Republicans, have been skeptical about President Obama’s economic policies from the start.

One of the most consistent critics has been the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is based two blocks from the White House.  The Chamber represents more than three million businesses, and calls itself the world’s largest business federation.

Lately, the president has been trying hard to win over the Chamber and other business leaders to his proposals to make American companies more competitive globally.

His next step in that effort will be a speech at Chamber of Commerce headquarters on Monday.  Administration officials hope the visit will mark a turning point in the president’s relationship with corporate America.

In his weekly address Saturday, Mr. Obama said he will tell the corporate leaders that government has certain responsibilities to help promote American businesses.  Among those responsibilities, he says, are providing the world’s best schools, the best infrastructure and the best incentives to innovate.

He said he will also tell the executives that they have responsibilities as well. “If we make America the best place to do business, businesses should make their mark here in America.  They should set up shop here and hire our workers and pay decent wages and invest in the future of this nation.  That is their obligation," he said.

Mr. Obama’s outreach to business has gained momentum since he and Republicans in Congress reached a compromise in December to extend the life of tax cuts begun during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Another move seen as pro-business was the appointment of William Daley as White House Chief of Staff.  Daley had served as Commerce Secretary during Bill Clinton’s administration, and since held a high-ranking position at the large bank JP Morgan Chase.

President Obama has harshly criticized Wall Street bankers in the past for accepting big salary bonuses while their firms received government bailouts.  The Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, made large contributions to Republican candidates in last November’s midterm elections, in which numerous Democrats were swept out of office.

Meanwhile, some liberal Democrats are furious about the president’s pro-business turn, saying he has abandoned their party’s principle of fighting for the well-being of workers.

Mr. Obama is trying to strike a balance on the issue, talking with workers at factories that produce equipment for alternative energy, and also hosting a day-long summit for executives of the nation’s largest companies.

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs