Let’s Do Lunch: President Dines with Business Leaders Ahead of Debt Talks

ABC News' Ann Compton ( @AnnCompton) reports:

President Obama lunched with four business executives at the White House Tuesday, just hours before resuming negotiations on a deficit spending deal, and hours after prominent business groups issued a strong call for a agreement that will help the government avoid default in twenty three days.

Joining the President for lunch were Scott Davis from UPS, Sam Palmisano of IBM, Matt Rose from BNSF, and Otis Clarence head of Darden restaurants. White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, “They will specifically discuss the importance of working with the private sector to promote job training efforts.”

As for business concerns about the slow progress in reaching a deficit deal, “I’m sure they will address this issue,” Carney added. “Those other issues are quite clearly of concern and in the news right now.”

Earlier today, letters urging a deficit deal and a lifting of the debt ceiling were sent to the President and every member of Congress from a coalition of influential business organizations, from the National Association of Manufacturers to the Financial Services Forum.

“An unprecedented default on the nation’s bills would have dire consequences for our economy, our markets, and Main Street Americans,” declared Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue in a press release.

Business Roundtable President John Engler’s message to Washington was more succinct: ‘Do your job.’

Darden Restaurants of Orlando, which employs workers for popular chains such as Olive Garden and Red Lobster, has benefited from a waiver granted under President Obama’s health care reforms, exempting about 20% of their lower-wage employees from more expensive health insurance coverage.

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