President Joe Biden will huddle with chief executives from large firms to discuss economic conditions and efforts to roll out his infrastructure, climate and manufacturing initiatives during a meeting Thursday at the White House.
(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden will huddle with chief executives from large firms to discuss economic conditions and efforts to roll out his infrastructure, climate and manufacturing initiatives during a meeting Thursday at the White House.
The meeting comes as the Biden administration is renewing efforts to highlight the strength of the labor market and the president’s first-term legislative accomplishments to a skeptical American public that continues to give him low marks for his handling of the post-pandemic recovery.
The White House asked attendees, who include IBM Corp. Chief Executive Arvind Krishna and former American Express Co. Chair Kenneth Chenault, who now is chair of venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners, to prepare for a discussion on the state of the economy, implementation of the president’s agenda and what additional actions the government should pursue to encourage growth, according to a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the meeting.
Other attendees include Brendan Bechtel, the head of construction giant Bechtel Group, as well as Calvin Butler, chief executive of leading utility Exelon Corp. Both companies stand to benefit from substantial subsides for transportation and green energy projects in legislation passed by Democrats under Biden’s tenure.
IBM’s Krishna plans to highlight how the president’s legislative programs have boosted clients like telecommunications firms, local governments, and microchip manufacturers and push Biden to advocate for additional funding for scientific research that wasn’t appropriated as part of last year’s Chips and Science Act.
The Big Blue executive also expects to urge Biden to push other leading industrial democracies to adopt uniform standards for artificial intelligence systems, ahead of an executive order governing the emerging technology expected to be released in the coming weeks.
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“I look forward to meeting President Biden again to discuss US economic growth, and how bipartisan, pro-investment policies like the CHIPS Act are already strengthening US manufacturing, R&D, and competitiveness,” Krishna said in a statement. “At IBM, we have always believed that public-private partnerships in science and innovation unlock productivity and growth.”
Target Corp. Chief Executive Brian Cornell is also expected to attend the afternoon meeting in the Roosevelt Room, as the White House seeks to highlight cooling inflation — cited as a top concern in polls showing worries over the economy weighing down the president’s reelection bid. In a Gallup poll released earlier this month, voters said they believed Republicans would do a better job than Democrats keeping the country prosperous by a 14-percentage point margin — the GOP’s widest advantage on the issue since 1991.
Inflation was the single highest specific economic concern cited by Americans surveyed by Gallup in September. A Bloomberg Economics analysis expects the September US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, which will be released ahead of Biden’s meeting, to see core inflation post a 0.3% month-on-month gain.
Read more: US Headline CPI to Slow, Core to Stay Above Target
Other attendees include TIAA Chief Executive Thasunda Duckett and Judy Marks, chief executive of elevator manufacturer Otis Worldwide Corp.
The meeting comes as the administration is launching the third leg of its Investing in America tour, which is intended to increase awareness of government programs designed to spur economic growth as surveys show little awareness of the White House’s accomplishments.
In the coming weeks, Biden is planning multiple trips to highlight manufacturing and infrastructure projects, including a trip Friday to Philadelphia to unveil a nationwide network of hydrogen clean energy projects.
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