Kamala Harris seeks advice from Wall Street CEOs

Vice President Kamala Harris has frequently sought advice from well-known Wall Street executives and business leaders as the Biden administration faces a series of political challenges at home and abroad, according to a report released Wednesday .

The outreach came as Harris seeks to overcome various hurdles, including an ongoing border crisis, supply chain disruptions that have contributed to rising inflation and a push by Democrats for a federal voting rights legislation.

Executives, which include Microsoft chairman Brad Smith, Citigroup Inc. CEO Jane Fraser and several others, have served as Harris’ “informal advisers”, Bloomberg reported. The vice president spoke to executives in various forums, including phone calls and strategy meetings.

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to various business leaders this year.
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Microsoft President Brad Smith
Vice President Kamala Harris reached out to Microsoft President Brad Smith, among others.
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“The Vice President has worked closely with business leaders on a wide range of issues – and throughout her career she has viewed the business community as an important partner when it comes to making get things done, keeping speed and impact in mind, ”Mike Pyle, an economic adviser to Harris, said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Harris’s close ties to business could pose a challenge for the Biden administration over time. President Biden and the Main Democrats are continuing an anti-trust crackdown in several sectors and have called for higher taxes on corporations and the richest Americans.

The vice president could also face criticism from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, whose members are wary of the White House’s dealings with Wall Street.

Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco Technologies
Vice President Kamala Harris has consulted with Cisco Technologies CEO Chuck Robbins about the semiconductor shortage.
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Harris’ relationships with business leaders were said to have played a key role in the administration’s announcement earlier this month of support for economic development for the nations of the “Northern Triangle” of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

The White House has touted $ 1.2 billion in private sector commitments in the region, with big companies such as PepsiCo, Mastercard, Microsoft and Nespresso among those involved. The commitments included improved vocational training and new facilities based in Central America.

Harris and other administration officials have argued that economic support is needed to tackle the “root causes” of migration from the region.

“I probably started out as someone who was hopeful but was skeptical that it could make a real dent, just because I think the scale of the challenge is so great,” Smith said. at Bloomberg. “But more and more, I’m optimistic that it takes real momentum and will make a real difference.”

Harris reportedly spoke with Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins about ways to deal with a continuing semiconductor shortage and supply chain disruptions. Bloomberg reported that the two have spoken on several occasions since Harris took office on topics ranging from key policies to a simple “mental health check.”

The vice president also spoke with executives of major banks, including JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, with the goal of expanding access to loans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser
Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser has also been in discussions with the vice president.

Other outreach efforts have proved less successful. Harris has asked the business community for support for Democrat-backed federal voting legislation, but Republican lawmakers have been successful in blocking the bills on several occasions in recent months.

In August, Harris met with executives from seven companies, including Microsoft, Chobani and Airbnb, to rally support for expanded child care programs under the Biden administration’s social spending program. The Build Back Better Act has stalled in the Senate in the face of opposition from moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

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