In Social Policy Bill, Businesses See a Lot to Like. They Oppose It.

According to Mr. Hollender, who is now the CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council, “People say they’re supporting this new stakeholder economy, that they’re committed to sustainability.” There is, however, a system of incentives structured to maximise profits, and corporations do not like it when those earnings are jeopardised. ”

The charge was rebuffed by even more mainstream corporate organisations. Chamber of Commerce Chairman Bob Bradley recognised that some Democratic proposals aligned well with long-standing industry interests. Investing in sustainable energy to combat climate change is long overdue, he said, and child care is a top concern.

“The administration was correct to enhance I.R.S. enforcement to address the tax gap,” he continued. In order to have a tax code that encourages economic growth, “we must ensure that people comply with that tax code.”

The manner Democrats were going about dealing with these concerns, he claimed, was doomed to failure because it was done in a hasty, $3.5 trillion package that was to be passed through a fast-track process known as reconciliation.

As an example, business groups have been working with politicians from both parties in an effort to construct a payroll tax-funded paid family and medical leave programme. Payroll taxes have been substituted by a slew of new taxes on the wealthy and corporations that are unrelated to the programmes they are supposed to fund in order to meet Vice President Biden’s commitment not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year.

It would take “hard negotiations and trade-offs,” Mr. Bradley said, “before we could develop a programme that we could accept” in the absence of a reconciliation backdrop for paid family leave. In the process of reconciliation, “it’s just getting worse.”

The Business Roundtable, a group made up of the nation’s top business leaders, voiced a similar wish. Congress should consider some of these proposals “through the deliberative process, not through reconciliation,” according to a statement from the organisation.