Business group accuses Obama of neglecting jobs

WASHINGTON Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:19am EDT

President Barack Obama speaks at a fundraiser for Senator Harry Reid in Las Vegas, Nevada July 8, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Barack Obama speaks at a fundraiser for Senator Harry Reid in Las Vegas, Nevada July 8, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of the most influential U.S. business groups accused President Barack Obama on Wednesday of neglecting job creation and sowing economic uncertainty with burdensome tax and regulatory policies.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress to shift their approach to "unlock frozen capital and jolt our economy back to life."

The group released the letter before a "Jobs for America" summit it is hosting and on the same day Obama's Council of Economic advisers is releasing a report that shows the president's policies are creating jobs and stimulating the economy.

The letter adds to growing criticism the Obama administration has faced lately from the business sector.

Four months before November congressional elections in which Obama's Democrats are struggling to preserve their dominance, Republicans have pounced on the criticisms to try to paint Obama as "anti-business."

The Chamber gave Obama credit for stabilizing the economy and heading off another Great Depression.

"But once accomplished, the congressional leadership and the administration took their eyes off the ball," the letter said. "They neglected America's number one priority -- creating the more than 20 million jobs we need over the next 10 years for those who lost their jobs, have left the job market, or were cut to part-time status - as well as new entrants into our workforce."

The Chamber's jobs event, which takes place in Washington, will begin at 12:30 p.m. Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana are among the speakers.

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, leaders of a panel appointed by Obama on deficit reduction, are also scheduled to speak.

The healthcare reform legislation, financial regulatory reform and proposals to cap carbon emissions are cited by some in corporate America as examples of regulatory overreach. Business groups have also criticized Obama's fiscal policies, warning of the danger of high deficits.

Business groups also oppose Obama's plans to allow President George W. Bush's tax cuts on higher-income Americans expire at the end of this year.

A rift with the business community could pose other problems for Obama.

U.S. businesses are holding onto some $1.8 trillion in cash. The Obama administration wants to encourage them to invest some of that money to help jump-start the economic recovery.

(Editing by Doina Chiacu)