"The trip to Washington to the White House Business Council Forum was definitely worthwhile. We were "at” the White House, but not "in" the White House. Instead we were in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door which houses the Executive Branch of Government. There were about forty to fifty of us, the majority from Texas, but some from other states. Invitees included small business owners as well as economic development professionals, business resource people, and even a former governor... Mark White of Texas. There was definitely a strong minority and Democratic majority in the room, but I feel that administration officials listened and responded fairly to both sides of issues, ranging from job creation, to immigration, the budget deficit, technology, and The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). They allowed discussion from all participants, pro and con, and seemed genuinely interested in our opinions. Presenters included Gene Sperling, Valarie Jarrett, and other top administration advisors (agenda attached). As I promised before I left, I was bold and spoke up on several subjects important to me such as the SBA 504 Refi Bill (one on one), immigration reform, and the ACA (Obamacare). I was not rude and I was not asked to leave the meeting. LOL!! But I was allowed to speak my mind, and some of my opinions did line up with those of the Administration. Overall, it was a very worthwhile trip and it was an honor to be asked to participate. I would certainly do it again if invited. The biggest thing I brought back is the feeling that we all matter and our opinions matter. Government is a process and we can all be a part of that process, no matter which side of the isle we support."
Quotes submitted by business leaders
"We can't afford the uncertainty of not having a Federal budget. The economy is finally recovering and businesses of all sizes need to have something consistent and dependable out of Washington,” said businessman Alan E. Amstutz of Dublin, Ohio.
"A great opportunity for strengthening America’s young economic recovery will be seizing this year’s opportunity for comprehensive immigration reform. If Congress passes the bipartisan Senate bill in 2014, the economy could grow by up to $1.4 trillion in the coming decades while reducing our nation’s deficit by nearly $1 trillion. We can add millions of new American citizens as legal, tax-paying, wage-earners and high-tech employers will be better able to attract the world’s top scientific talent to drive innovation-based industries," said Andrew Borene, chairman of Robotics Alley in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"It's encouraging to see the genuine concern and interest the Administration has in supporting the growth of small businesses,” said Kathleen Miller, owner of Red Bridge Events in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.