Photo: World Resources Institute
In the wake of Congress’ protracted, highly partisan fight over the federal debt ceiling, the CEO of the world’s largest construction equipment company is worried that continued partisanship could stall future efforts to get the economy back on its feet.In an interview with the Financial Times, Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said that the partisan squabbling over the debt deal had, “sucked all the air out of Washington,” and he expressed concern that political bickering could ultimately prevent the government from forging agreements on legislation crucial to the economic recovery, including trade deals and spending bills.
“The process was ugly and it was a red herring of a problem,” Oberhelman told the Times. “The politicians turned [it] into this big giant thing that scares people. I’m equally critical of both sides.”
In particular, Oberhelman worried that political gridlock could derail much-needed infrastructure investment projects.
“We have decided as a country not to invest in infrastructure any more,” Oberhelman told the Times. “It’s short-sighted and it’s dangerous for the future of our country.”
“We cannot give up our international competitiveness. That’s what’s at stake,” he added.
Oberhelman joins a growing list of high-profile CEOs who have bemoaned Congress’ slow movement toward a debt deal. Earlier this month, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz called on top executives to join him in temporarily halting political contributions to politicians until they come up with a deficit reduction plan.
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