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Biden will host CEOs at the White House to promote his stalled Build Back Better bill

  • January 26, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will meet in person with the CEOs of 10 major corporations on Wednesday to discuss the potential benefits to business of his Build Back Better Act, the social safety net bill that passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate.

According to a White House official who requested anonymity Tuesday to preview an event that was still being finalized, the executives will all be there in person, not attending virtually. This is a change from past CEO events Biden has hosted, which were a hybrid of in-person and virtual attendees.

These are the chief executives expected to join Biden:

  • Mary Barra, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors
  • Marc Benioff, Chair, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Salesforce
  • Thasunda Brown Duckett, President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA
  • Jim Farley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford
  • Barbara Humpton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Corporation
  • Tom Linebarger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cummins
  • Enrique Lores, President and Chief Executive Officer of HP
  • Josh Silverman, Chief Executive Officer of Etsy
  • Brad Smith, President and Vice Chairman of Microsoft
  • Wendell Weeks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Corning

All the CEOs attending the meeting support passing the Build Back Better Act (BBB), the White House official told CNBC.

During the meeting, the CEOs will “highlight what they see as the key benefits of BBB for the American economy and American business.”

The event appears to be geared at showcasing an element of the Build Back Better Act that has not received very much attention: What it would do for business.

Instead, most of the attention paid to the bill over the past year — both by the White House and by Democrats in Congress — has been focused on what the $1.75 trillion plan would have done for poor and middle class families.

The legislation also contains language that would raise corporate tax rates and impose a minimum tax on profits. For the past year, business groups have opposed its passage.

For the White House, highlighting the business side of the legislation could also help Biden move the biggest obstacle standing in the way of the BBB: Conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who announced his opposition to the bill in December after months of negotiating over what was in it.

Manchin cited inflation as the reason he could no longer support the bill, which would have funded universal pre-K, subsidies for child care and a one-year extension of a tax credit of up to $300 per child. The legislation would also have put more than $500 billion into climate programs.

This week Biden said he thought the climate portion of BBB might be able to pass the House and Senate on its own, without the social programs.

“I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now and come back and fight for the rest of it,” he said at a White House event.


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