Top business leaders get White House briefing on stalemate

The president has spent the past couple of days meeting with House and Senate lawmakers from both parties to flesh out ideas on how to move forward but, so far, to no avail. 

On Friday, the president spoke to nearly 150 of the nation’s top business leaders about where negotiations stand.

"In the call, the president reiterated that his first order of business is to urge Congress to reopen the government and remove the threat of default, and then he is willing to engage with Congress on a long-term budget that invests in our nation’s priorities, grows the economy and gets the country on a sustainable fiscal path without the brinkmanship caused by using the threat of default as a negotiating tactic," the White House said in a statement.

The president also met with nine small-business owners about the effects of the ongoing federal government shutdown on their businesses and updated them on where things stand. 

Letters have gone out all week from NAM, the Chamber, the National Retail Federation and travel groups imploring policymakers to find a solution. 

The most recent was a joint letter on Friday from the Chamber, the AFL-CIO and United Way Worldwide saying that the shutdown shouldn’t continue another day.

"While we may disagree on priorities for federal policies and we even have conflicting views about many issues, we are in complete agreement that the current shutdown is harmful and the risk of default is potentially catastrophic for our fragile economy," they wrote. 

“Our three disparate sectors share a common view — no one benefits from the current shut-down and everyone will be harmed if the government defaults. It is in the interest of our nation that Congress restore the normal functioning of our political process, fund the government immediately and quickly move to resolve the impasse over the debt ceiling limit,” the letter says. 

Earlier in the week, NAM sent a letter to congressional leaders and the White House urging them to raise the debt limit.

"The failure of policymakers to address this critical issue is injecting uncertainty in the U.S. economy, hampering the ability of manufacturers and the broader business community to compete, invest and create new jobs," wrote Jay Timmons, NAM's president and CEO.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said this week that the default is likely if the nation's borrowing capacity isn't increased by Thursday. 

Other groups chimed in, as well. 

The U.S. Travel Association also penned a Friday letter saying that the industry is taking a multi-million hit from the stalemate. 

The congressional fiscal impasse is costing the nation $152 million a day and is affecting as many as 450,000 American workers.

That followed a letter from the American Hotel & Lodging Association on Thursday saying it was costing their businesses $8 million a day during the shutdown, while areas near national parks are losing $76 million a day in visitor spending.

More in Finance

Business leaders cheer 'positive step forward'

Read more »