By Lexi Stemple, ,
Published December 23, 2015
The Obama administration it seems is working on courting a better relationship with the business community by continuing to add meetings with CEOs of major companies and also improving its standing with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On Monday, President Obama met with Walmart CEO Mike Duke, and the White House says this is part of his effort to reach out to business leaders and include them in solutions for the ailing economy and spurring job growth.
As part of the president's evolving relationship with the business community, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says Mr. Obama's Oval Office meeting with Mr. Duke is "part of a series of ongoing meetings that the president's had for the past many, many months and will continue to have to solicit the ideas of some of the nation's largest employers in -- in ensuring our continued economic recovery."
He didn't have, and the White House hasn't provided, a readout of the issues Mr. Obama addressed in the meeting with Duke. But, he did say that, "Getting the insight and the ideas of those that employ so many is important to the economic decision-making that the president and the team will have to make."
The president has also met with other CEOs over the past couple years - including ongoing conversations with the head of Google, investing titan Warren Buffet and several other heads of manufacturing companies and businesses.
Monday wasn't Duke's first trip to the White House. He was one of more than a hundred CEOs that have attended the past lunches and roundtables Gibbs mentioned. Just last month, Obama met with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to discuss American competitiveness, energy independence, and ways to create jobs.
The president's relationship with the business world got off to a rocky start. Early on in his administration, some in the business community labeled him anti-business because of his economic reform packages and bailouts. That included that U.S. Chamber of Commerce which has been at issue with the administration over disagreements on health care and Mr. Obama's financial regulatory overhauls.
Democrats and the White House have had a somewhat contentious relationship with the Chamber and both sides have made public jabs at the other.
The clash hit a fever pitch during the midterm elections, when Democrats and the White House used the Chamber as a punching bag, claiming they were potentially receiving anonymous foreign donations that they funneled to campaign ads.
But the relationship appears to be on the mend, with both sides showing signs of a friendlier tone.
A couple of weeks ago Chamber President Tom Donahue had a more friendly attitude and in a speech seemed to be extending a willingness to work more with the Obama administration.
The White House also seemed open to mending the relationship.
"Economic Recovery is the most important goal for the president and working with all of the stakeholders, including the Chamber of Commerce, on export promotion, free and fair trade to grow the economy and create jobs is an important part of achieving that goal, " Jen Psaki, White House Spokesperson told Fox News' Mike Emanuel earlier this month.The president has been invited to speak with the Chamber in January, and the White House is considering the invitation, but details are still be worked out.
There is also word of a potential business leader summit in the works.
But there are still disagreements between the Obama Administration and business groups like the Chamber, the National Federation of Independent Business and Wall Street firms over taxes and regulations on carbon emissions, financial transactions and health care. However, the president has recently offered a multi-billion dollar concession on his health care law. By signaling a willingness to amend the law to remove a provision requiring businesses to report to the IRS every transaction they make of at least $600, the president has addressed one of the business community's top concerns with his administration's accomplishments.
FOX Business' Rich Edson and Fox News' Kimberly Schwandt contributed to this report.