CEOs want to be heard on the Hill as they push to keep DACA, implement tax reform

U.S. Capitol Building
Congress’ planned phaseout of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and handling of tax reform has CEOs’ attention.

Chief executive officers are speaking out about hot-button political issues such as the planned phaseout of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and tax reform.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is defending DACA, a program that gives temporary protection and work authorization to young immigrants brought to the United States as children and living here illegally. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the administration is ending the program because of legal flaws.

“This is unacceptable,” Cook said at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, according to a CNBC article. “This is not who we are as a country. I am personally shocked that there’s even a discussion on this. It’s not a political thing, at least I don't see it that way at all. It’s about basic human decency and respect.”

Cook has promised that the company will work with Congress on behalf of Apple employees who are “dreamers,” or people who benefit from DACA, the article states.

Michael Bloomberg, CEO of Bloomberg L.P. and former New York City mayor, also lambasted the move to do away with DACA, likening the decision to a bank robbery in which the culprit is holding a baby. The baby wouldn’t face prosecution, the article states.

Congress’ handling of tax reform also has CEOs’ attention. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that Republicans controlling both houses, it would be a “bad indictment” of their effectiveness, according to The Hill.

“I absolutely believe, and I think you’re beginning to understand, that the people in the Senate and Congress believe that if they don’t get tax reform done, it may be political survival for them,” the article quotes Stephenson as saying at an event hosted by the Business Roundtable.

Other CEOs at the event also support reform. Mark Weinberger, CEO of Ernst and Young, said that the 35% corporate rate should drop to the “low 20s at worst,” the article states.

Boeing President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg sees reform as an enabler. “It will unleash capital investment, it will unleash our ability to grow jobs,” he said.

In an interview with “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty called the current tax code “uncompetitive.” “It’s been 30 years since there’s been really major tax reform, and if any of us think back through the years, [there was] no cellphone, no internet. That should just tell you something about how out of date it is.”

A tax framework is expected to come out next week.