Some US business groups, upset about budget and regulatory policies they say are costing jobs, are accusing President Barack Obama of pursuing an agenda that is hurting the US economic recovery.
The criticism comes amid a tepid pace of private-sector job creation. The White House is responding by saying a lack of regulations triggered the economic crisis and that a balance is needed to protect Americans.
The issue could give Republicans a potent weapon in the November elections in which they hope to overturn the dominance in the US Congress of Obama's Democrats.
The US Chamber of Commerce, a lobby that represents big businesses, is to lay out its concerns with Obama's policies at a "jobs for America" summit on Wednesday in Washington. Chamber Chief Executive Officer Tom Donohue is to issue an open letter to Obama and Congress that will urge "immediate action to address the new regulatory stranglehold placed on America's job creators".
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist who was a top adviser to 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain, said Obama's agenda had "nothing in it" for the business community.
"We are growing too slowly," said Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. "Households are broke. Governments have to retrench. The only places to get strong growth are in the business community and in net exports and that's where they have nothing."
Longtime Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, the White House point person for outreach to the business community and other outside groups, said the administration's agenda was fostering growth, not stifling it.
"The facts are clear that President Obama's policies have been instrumental in bringing back our economy from the brink of the largest economic meltdown since the Great Depression," she said.
Jarrett said when Obama took office in January 2009, jobs were plummeting by 700,000 and the stock market was in freefall. "We've turned that around and now we're seeing for six straight months positive job growth," she said.
In comments that echoed those of some prominent chief executives and business groups, Holtz-Eakin called Obama's recently passed healthcare plan and proposed legislation to cap carbon emissions examples of regulatory overreach. He also said large budget deficits are spurring uncertainty and worries among businesses about the potential for higher taxes.
Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive of Verizon Communications, in a speech last month said there was a "disconnect" between Washington and the business community that is harming job growth.