By Geneva Sands - 12/10/12 05:25 PM EST
General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt adamantly rejected the suggestion that Congress should go over the so-called "fiscal cliff," saying it would be a "failure" if President Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) can't reach a deal before the new year.
"We haven't been on this for two days or two months. We've been working on this for two and a half years. What happened in July of 2011 was ugly. You know, I read stories now that say 'the president lost, or he shouldn't have done this, or Speaker Boehner done that.' They both failed. Nobody won on at that moment in time. It made us — it hurt us inside the country, it hurt us outside the country, so, I would say if this goes into next year, we ought to consider that failure," said Immelt in a Friday interview that aired Monday on CBS "This Morning."
Immelt encouraged the president and House Speaker to come to a doable agreement that both parties could accept. He told CBS that he was speaking from the point of view of the business community at large in urging Democrats and Republicans to reach a deal.
"This is not just Jeff Immelt of GE speaking, it's really, I would say, the business community almost universally speaks with one voice that this needs to get done and needs to get done now, and moving into next year is just failure," Immelt said.
Immelt, along with several other CEOs, met with Obama to discuss fiscal issues in November. Obama also chose Immelt to head the administration's Jobs and Competitiveness Council to provide advice to the president on how best to strengthen the economy and create jobs.
Obama and Boehner have remained publicly stalled in their efforts to reach a deal. The pair met in person Sunday, renewing optimism that a compromise might be reached; details of the meeting were kept private, however.
The GE CEO said from his experience people and governments around the world don't understand why the U.S. government "can't just compromise and get along."
He also raised concerns about that defaulting on the debt or a lowered credit rating for the United States could jeopardize the dollar's role as the world's reserve currency.
"Every American benefits from that, every American. Three hundred million plus of us all benefit from the fact that we're the reserve currency ... you can't take that for granted," he said.