By Jennifer Liberto @jenlibertoNovember 7, 2012: 4:45 PM ET
Three top big-business groups extended an olive branch to President Obama on Wednesday, saying past rancor is "history," and it's time to "overcome gridlock" in Washington.
"I really don't think it's any secret that the business community has had reservations over the past four years, but today that is now history," said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers. That organization counts Caterpillar(CAT), Crown Holdings(CCK) and Dow Chemical (DOW) as members.
But Timmons and business leaders still won't budge as far as tax hikes on the wealthy are concerned, maintaining that they should not go through this year.
Leaders of the manufacturers group, as well as the Business Roundtable and the Business Industry Political Action Committee, all remain opposed to income tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans as a part of any deal to stop the nation from going over the fiscal cliff. That's the $7 trillion package of spending cuts and tax hikes set to kick in Jan. 2 if Congress doesn't act.
Timmons said that any talks about tax hikes should be a part of a broader discussion about reforms to the U.S. tax code that aim to increase economic growth, not the fiscal cliff talks.
What the heck is the fiscal cliff?
"Clearly a tax increase is not going to resolve the fiscal cliff," said Greg Casey, head of the Business Industry Political Action Committee, a group that funds campaigns of business-friendly candidates. Contributors include Lockheed Martin(LMT), Pricewaterhouse Coopers, International Paper (IP)and PPL Corp(PPL).
John Engler, a three-term Republican governor of Michigan and president of the Business Roundtable, said Congress and Obama should extend all tax cuts and delay all spending cuts for a year. Members of the Business Roundtable include CEOs of some of the nation's largest companies such as Boeing(BA), Honeywell International(HON), and General Electric(GE).