The BRT invited President Barack Obama to address its members in December. "The president came to the Business Roundtable not long ago," Smith recalled, "[and] stated unequivocally that he's for corporate tax reform, including a lower rate and a modified territorial system."
(Read More: U.S. Corporations Fear Big Tax Hikes in White House Budget)
Republicans have long-sought to change the corporate tax code. "It's the politics that keeps it from getting done," said Smith, who was a supporter of Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.
The issue of overhauling corporate taxes had emerged as a possible negotiating point in the talks at the end of last year to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
But it never became part of the final deal, which included higher taxes on wealthier Americans and an agreement to postpone automatic spending cuts, known as "the sequester," until March.
(Read More: How Rising Taxes Drove Incomes Higher in December)
With about a month left, the president and Republican leaders are still far apart on a compromise plan to replace those across-the-board spending cuts.
But during this past week, the complicating factor of raising the debt ceiling — a move Republicans had refused to support without matching spending cuts — was taken off the table until May.
Recognizing that waiting and worrying about Washington is not a business plan, Smith said, "I think companies have decided to move on. FedEx is investing this year, in our fiscal year that ends May 31, about $3.9 billion."
—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere; Follow him on Twitter