Commerce Secretary: Chamber of Commerce ‘Joined Together’ with White House on Economic Priorities

Jan 28, 2011 3:34pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:

After a testy first two years in the relationship between President Obama and big business, the White House is hoping for a fresh start, with the president making a series of pro-business moves and set to address the Chamber of Commerce next month.

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told us that reports of tension have always overlooked the “coordination and cooperation” with the business community since the president first took office.

“More recently that engagement has been amplified, and look at the great success the that president has had with the business community,” Locke said. “We’re really seeing that the president [is] amplifying and focusing on a priority from day one, which is getting our economy moving again, and that really involves selling more of ‘Made in USA’ goods and services.”

“Actually there’s been a lot of areas in which the administration and the Chamber of Commerce, and the Business Roundtable and business community, have joined together,” Locked added. “So we’re really looking at the programs and policies where we can join together to help move the economy along. Because, obviously, over 9 percent unemployment is unacceptable, and the president has said that as long as a person is still looking for a job, our work in the administration is not done.”

Despite tensions – the Chamber opposed the health care law and financial regulatory reform, among other Obama initiatives – “there really is a lot of common agreement between the Chamber and the administration,” Locke said.

Locke also responded to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal that a single hedge-fund manager personally made $5 billion last year – money that will be taxed at a lower rate because of a loophole many hedge-fund managers take advantage of.

“It’s really part of the bizarre tax code that we have, that really puzzles and frustrates both businesses and individuals,” Locke said. “That’s one of the priorities of the business community, to have a more sound tax code and overhaul of the tax code that will actually encourage job creation and formation, eliminating some of these tax loopholes. And the president indicated that he wants to work with the business community and the Congress on overhauling on tax code.”

Watch the “Top Line” interview with Secretary Gary Locke HERE.

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