Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz isn’t happy with Washington.
The chief executive, known getting involved in politics, ripped into lawmakers over their handling of the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling during his keynote speech to the National Retail Federation Monday, according to Business Insider. Schultz urged his fellow retail colleagues to “send a message to Washington" by taking action.
Lawmakers’ lack of leadership is "sapping the lifeblood, the soul, and the confidence of the country as the world witnessed a lack of leadership in the United States," Schultz said according to Business Insider, "fracturing trust and confidence not only here at home but around the world."
President Obama delivered a sharp rebuke to Republican politicians over the debt ceiling standoff Monday, calling the idea that America wouldn’t pay its bills “absurd.” Republican leaders have said that spending cuts are necessary before they would agree to a vote on raising the country’s borrowing limit. If lawmakers do nothing, the U.S. could be unable to meet its financial obligations by February 15, according to a report from the Bipartisan Policy Center.
This is just the latest attempt by Schultz to get politicians to end their budget stalemates. In an aim to urge lawmakers to reach a fiscal cliff deal, the Starbucks CEO pushed employees in 120 Washington, D.C.-area stores to write “Come Together” on customers’ cups last month. Congress ultimately passed an agreement earlier this month to prevent trillions of dollars in automatic spending cuts and tax hikes, at least for now.
And shortly after the last debt ceiling fight in summer 2011, Schultz called for an end to all campaign contributions until lawmakers faced “the nation's long-term fiscal challenges with civility, honesty, and a willingness to sacrifice their own re-election.”
Schultz isn’t the only CEO to get involved. A group of CEOs, calling themselves the “Fix the Debt” coalition, pushed lawmakers to quickly come to an agreement on the fiscal cliff late last year, ultimately winning concessions for themselves and their companies.