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Business Leaders Urge Obama to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

photo of Julia Edwards
November 14, 2012

Business leaders from some of the country's largest companies met with President Obama on Wednesday to emphasize their position that Washington must reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

"We were very clear that if we can help him to get to a solution, we are absolutely behind him, because going over the cliff is not something that any of us in the room could live with," said Xerox Chairwoman and CEO Ursula Barns after the one hour meeting.

The meeting was not the first time the nation's top CEOs have made their opinion on the matter known.

Many of the leaders who met with Obama, including Jeff Immelt of General Electric and David Cote of Honeywell, have joined the Campaign to Fix the Debt, which recently launched a $1 million ad campaign to raise public awareness about the importance of reaching a deal to lower the debt and avoid sequestration and tax hikes. But the campaign has shied away from giving specifics on the kind of deal preferred, including whether it would include raising taxes on individuals making more than $250,000 a year or require a lower corporate tax rate.

Asked if the president discussed taxes during the meeting, Burns said "We didn't really get into too many specifics, but I guarantee you as we go forward we are going to have to work through some sticking issues."

The meeting is the second of three that Obama is holding on the fiscal cliff this week. He met with labor leaders on Tuesday and plans to meet with Congressional leaders on Friday.

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