That extends an opportunity to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats to find an ally in an unlikely place when the party has unified control of the federal government for the first time in a decade. Biden is pushing an ambitious $2.3 trillion infrastructure package that includes corporate tax increases — which the White House is characterizing to CEOs as upfront investments that will ultimately make companies more profitable.
“It’s important for making the country more competitive,” said Cedric Richmond, the White House’s director of public engagement. “We think the plan is so important to the country that we are advocating and singing its praises to all businesses.”
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo estimates she has talked to more than 50 business leaders about the plan, including a round of Easter weekend phone calls. She is encouraging companies to focus on the entire package instead of the tax increases.
“You can’t look at one piece of it and say that one number makes you walk away,” she said. “They say, ‘That’s fair. Let me think about it.’ That’s how they run their businesses.”
Whether the corporate split with the GOP widens could help answer questions about the political direction of the country and the extent to which business can continue to influence Washington.
“Nobody in the business community wants hostile communities, angry finger-pointing workforces and turbulent shareholder bases,” said Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, a senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management. “It makes your job so much harder to have every constituency group at war within themselves, which has become the hallmark of the GOP.”