The recent election may have changed the composition of Congress but not issues important to business--such as trade and healthcase, said Terry McGraw, chairman of the Business Roundtable.
"(The voters) weren't looking for a new agenda," McGraw said in an exclusive interview on cnbc.com with Liz Claman. The Business Roundtable, an influential business lobbying group, is an association consisting of the chief executives of major U.S. corporations.
McGraw, who also is chairman, president and chief executive of media giant McGraw-Hill, called on lawmakers to work with business.
"We have to have a better conversation and be willing to listen to one another," McGraw said.
Specifically, he wants to open up trade relations with countries such as Vietnam, to pass legislation that would automate healthcare, and to keep the overall tax rate low.
According to McGraw, steps such as these are needed to keep U.S. businesses competetive in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
Take rising healthcare costs. McGraw said higher healthcare costs threaten the ability of U.S. companies to compete by driving up corporate expenses.
McGraw estimates some $165 billion a year could be saved by shifting healthcare records to a digital system. He urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would make this happen.
McGraw's interview comes as the shares of McGraw-Hill are just shy of an all-time high.
McGraw attributed the strong performance of his company's stock to its ability to take advantage of growth trends in the financial services and educational markets.
McGraw expects the media company is just at the beginning of a long-term trend in education that will help boost demand for its educational products. This trend is being driven by standardized instruction and increased accountability.