WASHINGTON Two dozen business, labor and civic leaders, including the chief executives of major U.S. corporations such as Ford, IBM and Wal-Mart, will meet President Barack Obama to discuss how to control the federal deficit, said the White House on Monday.
Obama was scheduled to meet labor and civic leaders on Tuesday, followed by a meeting with business executives on Wednesday. A White House official said the leaders would discuss "the best ways to move our economy forward and find a balanced approach to reduce the deficit."
Unless the president and lawmakers agree, a combination of tax increases and government spending cuts will take effect in early 2013, the so-called fiscal cliff that would reduce the deficit but harm the U.S. economy.
Expected at the meeting on Tuesday were four labor leaders - Mary Kay Henry of the Service Employees International Union, Lee Saunders of the public employees union AFSCME, Dennis Van Roekel of the National Education Association and Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, the umbrella organization for U.S. labor.
Also at the session on Tuesday would be leaders of civic and politically progressive groups. They were John Podesta and Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress, Robert Greenstein of the think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Laura Burton Capps of Common Purpose Project, Max Richtman of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security, Justin Ruben of MoveOn and Deepak Bhargava of Center for Community Change.
Business executives invited to meet the president on Wednesday were Mark Bertolini of Aetna Inc, Ursula Burns of Xerox Corp, Kenneth Chenault of American Express Co, David Cote of Honeywell International Inc, Michael Duke of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric Co, Andrew Liveris of Dow Chemical Co, Robert McDonald of Procter & Gamble Co, Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Co, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo Inc, Ginni Rometty of IBM, and John Watson of Chevron Corp.
(Reporting by Charles Abbott; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)