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Despite being traditional allies, big business now fed up with Capitol Hill

Figures of Grief and History on the Peace Monument stand near the U.S. Capitol building July 31, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Last summer, the battle over raising the debt ceiling consumed D.C.

And so, the partial shutdown of the federal government continues. Today, President Obama is meeting with executives from some of the world’s biggest banks. It’ll be a chance for them to give Obama their take on the shutdown and the upcoming debate over raising the debt ceiling. 

The way politicians have handled those two issues doesn’t instill much confidence in government.

“I think people in the business community are starting to get restless about this,” says Paul Argenti, professor of corporate communication at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

Today’s meeting is an opportunity for executives to convey that restlessness to the president. John Graham, a finance professor at Duke, says Washington dysfunction “is very troubling to the business community.”

“They want politicians to work together, to compromise,” he says. “And the two key words -- they want politicians to find solutions.”

Companies have trade groups in Washington, and according to Argenti, executives and lobbyists are on Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers. They are calling upon old friends.

“I think the business community probably supports the real Republican Party,” he says. “I don’t think the business community necessarily supports the radical wing of the Republican Party.”

More than anything, Argenti says, executives want “rational answers to these difficult questions,” and those answers aren’t coming from politicians on either side of the aisle.

About the author

David Gura is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau.
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