February 6th, 2010
10:03 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama promotes small businesses, calls for Congress to act

(CNN) - In his weekly radio and Web address Saturday, President Obama promotes the power small businesses have in spurring the nation's economic recovery and again calls for new tax credits for those businesses who increase hiring and wages.

The president also called on Congress to act swiftly to enact his proposals.

"I urge members of both parties: do not oppose good ideas just because it’s good politics to do so. The proposals I’ve outlined are not Democratic or Republican; liberal or conservative. They are pro-business, they are pro-growth, and they are pro-job," he said.

Transcript of remarks after the jump:

Even though our economy is growing again, these are still tough times for America. Too many businesses are still shuttered. Too many families can’t make ends meet. And while yesterday, we learned that the unemployment rate has dropped below ten percent for the first time since summer, it is still unacceptably high – and too many Americans still can’t find work.

But what we must remember at a time like this is that we are not helpless in the face of our difficulties. As Americans, we make our own destiny. We forge our own path. And I am confident that if we come together and put aside the politics that keeps holding us back, we can do that again. We can rebuild this economy on a new, stronger foundation that leads to more jobs and greater prosperity.

I believe a key part of that foundation is America’s small businesses – the places where most new jobs begin.

These companies represent the essence of the American spirit – the promise that anyone can succeed in this country if you have a good idea and the determination to see it through. And every once in awhile, these ideas don’t just lead to a new business and new jobs, but a new American product that forever changes the world. After all, Hewlett Packard began in a garage. Google began as a simple research project.

Government can’t create these businesses, but it can give entrepreneurs the support they need to open their doors, expand, or hire more workers. And that’s what we’ve always done in this country. The folks at Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff, Arizona started their company in a small home. Since getting a loan from the Small Business Administration, they’ve sold 160,000 wind turbines to about 90 different countries, and are hiring even more workers today. When Sam Ko walked into one of the SBA’s small business development centers in Illinois, he didn’t have any business experience at all – just a patent for a new metal manufacturing technology. He was given a loan and a business plan, and today his company is still growing, with offices all over the Midwest.

Last year, the steps we took supported over 47,000 loans to small businesses and delivered billions in tax relief to small business owners, which helped companies keep their doors open, make payroll, and hire workers. But we can and must do more. That’s why I’ve proposed a series of steps this week to support small business owners and the jobs they create – to provide more access to credit, more incentives to hire, and more opportunities to grow and sell products all over the world.

Because financing remains difficult for good, credit-worthy small businesses across the country, I’ve proposed that we take $30 billion from the TARP fund originally used for Wall Street and create a new Small Business Lending Fund that will provide capital for community banks on Main Street. These are the small, local banks that will be able to give our small business owners more of the credit they need to stay afloat. We should also continue to waive fees, increase guarantees, and expand the size of SBA-backed loans for small businesses. And yesterday, I proposed making it easier for small business owners to refinance their mortgages during these tough times.

To give these companies greater incentives to grow and create jobs, I’ve proposed a new tax credit for more than one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages, as well as the elimination of all capital gains taxes on small business investment.

Finally, we should provide targeted support to the most innovative small businesses – the ones with the greatest potential to export new goods and products all over the world. A lot of these companies – like the wind turbine manufacturer I mentioned – are the foundation on which we can rebuild our economy to compete in the 21st century. They just need a little help securing the financing they need to get off the ground. We have every incentive to help them do that.

Next week, Congress will start debating many of these proposals. And if anyone has additional ideas to support small businesses and create jobs, I’m happy to consider them. My door is always open. But I urge members of both parties: do not oppose good ideas just because it’s good politics to do so. The proposals I’ve outlined are not Democratic or Republican; liberal or conservative. They are pro-business, they are pro-growth, and they are pro-job. Leaders in both parties have supported similar ideas in the past. So let’s come together and pass these measures without delay. Let’s put more Americans back to work, and let’s give our small business owners the support to do what they’ve always done: the freedom to pursue their dreams and build our country’s future. Thanks for listening.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. JP

    Obama has only been progrowth if you are trial lawyer or union member. The best thing Obozo could do to help the economy is quit.

    February 6, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Juan Vasquez

    I await the negative response from those who claim to want "bipartisan" cooperation in the Republican Party. They have yet to support any major effort by the Democrats to deal with a multitude of issues. I am certain they will find some way to denigrate these efforts. The only thing that results from negativity is darkness.

    February 6, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    It's all fine and well that President Obama says, "I urge members of both parties: do not oppose good ideas just because it’s good politics to do so."

    However, we all know that the Republicans will oppose everything he says and does, in their efforts to make him and our country fail.

    So say the words, Mr. President; we all know you believe in cooperation and the betterment of our country. Then full speed ahead with using the Democrats' majority in the House and Senate to enact your policies.

    Our country is tired of being dragged down by the GOP, with their obstructionist tactics and tried-and-failed ideas.

    February 6, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. bb

    If Congress doesn't pass it with 50 + 1, then use the Executive Power you have. The Repukes are never ever going to work on passing anything you want Mr. President...it would be great if we could really change Washington and maybe towards the end of 2011 and prior to the 2012 elections we may be able to "disrupt" how Washington works and we will certainly continue with a Dem majority for you to work with in your 2nd term, right now use the power you have and just run the Repuikes over. It's exactly what they do when they are in power. JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!! Your Base will love you for it! They will support you 110%!!!

    February 6, 2010 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    How can you accuse the christian nutjobs of opposing something to help businesses and little people? The republicans would NEVER lie, they would never criticize something helpful to the people. Say it ain't so. (yuck – I'm gonna throw up now).

    February 6, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Kate

    Thank you, President. You do represent the grassroot people of America, the middle class. Quite different from the Tea Baggers that say they represent the grassroot Americans. I understand it is the really wealthy conservatives attending that conference of theirs.

    February 6, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. jules sand-perkins

    Some good writer at CNN said more in his or her summary than President Obama did in his hypnotically extended speech.

    February 6, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. BeverlyinNC

    President Obama is doing exactly what needs to be done right now and that is getting credit and money to small businesses. They are the foundation of our jobs stability.

    Let's see who Republicans really care about – are they FOR the People and our recovery or are they going to keep voting AGAINST the People for their political game playing with our lives.

    Make a choice Republicans – are you with the American People or with your corporate and industry buddies???? It's time to expose your real character or lack there of.

    February 6, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Conservative Voice

    Send the tax payers the $$$$ we will pay our bills which will help the small business....

    February 6, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Mike in MN

    Obama wants to cut small business taxes? Coming around a bit late isn't he? Isn't that part of the Bush/Republican failed policies?
    Truth is the House Republicans wrote a stimulus bill at the same time Obama's failed monster was being written. The Republican bill spent the same as Obama's on food stamps and unempolyment and more on business tax cuts and infrastructure spending. The CBO said it would cost half as much and create more jobs faster than Obama's spendulus plan. The reason it cost half as much is because it was not loaded down with non stimulus pork for special interest groups that help Obama and Democrats in the 2008 election. The House Democrats killed it. If it had been passed instead of Obama's spendulus we would all be better off right now.
    When Obama trashs Republicans for showing up at ribbon cuttings for infrastructure projects he is leaving out that Republicans supported the infrastructure spending and wanted to spend more.
    And what is all this crap from progressives everytime a Republican want to cut taxes to stimulate the economy. They claim tax cuts are just more of the same failed Bush policies. But Obama cut taxes for the middle class in his spendulus bill just as did Bush, in fact Bush's tax cuts for the middle class were larger than Obama's. Obama wants to cut taxes for small business now but rejected it when Republicans wanted to earlier because it was more of Bush's failed policies. Now progressives think it is good policy? I expect going forward we will no longer hear progressives call tax cuts a failed Bush policy that got us into this mess in the first place.

    February 6, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Stacie

    I can't wait to hear the excuse the Republicans are going to give for blocking legislation promoting small business growth.

    February 6, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. JGB

    Obama has NO clue what to do for Us small business owners. We don't need a loan and we aren't going to be doing any hiring anytime soon. Your added employer tax burden does not help.

    February 6, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. Gerry NH

    After 13 months he finally think it is importamt to do something for small businesses. This is really a new breaking thought. What a looser.

    February 6, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Mike in MN

    As long as a jobs bill focused on tax cuts does not wind up wlth all the waste and pork that was in Obama's spendulus bill and is paid for by spending cuts elsewhere, I would expect it will get bipartisian support from Republicans. But I would guess a bill loaded with pork for Democrat special interest groups and or that is not paid for by spending cuts elsewhere and adds to the deficit, will not get any support from Republicans.

    February 6, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. JGB

    The only thing government can do to help small businesses is to quit taxing the crap out of us and using us as ATM machines. Here is California our unemployment insurance rate more than doubled and our workmans comp went up 50%. To pay over $600 per month per employee for workmans comp, won't be enticing us to hire anytime soon. Too bad we couldn't put that money to better use, like health insurance. That's what happens in a fraud ridden state

    February 6, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Crad

    Apparently the President loves small businesses but seems to think large businesses are evil. I would like to know his definition of small business...just so I know when I am officially considered evil.

    February 6, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. johnnie w

    The CHANGE will COME, slowly but SURELY, President Obama is on POINT, and now has the WIND at his BACK. Lets give our SMALL BUSSINESS OWNERS,the SUPPORT,to what they have ALWAYS DONE, The FREEDOM to PURSUE their DREAMS and BUILD our COUNTRYS FUTURE. The GOP Senator from TEXAS ,refused another TELEVISE meeting with Republicans, Palin is having a BOGUS SPEECH , tonite for the TEA BAGGERS, that DIVIDER Tom Tan NO CREDITABILITY, gives a Hate Speech about Race, and NO RESPECT about for OUR PRESIDENT. But Still they have NO SOLLUTIONS for AMERICA. President Obama does,and CNN needs to RESPECT the President , to Addressing the PRESIDENT,as Mr. Obama. We have a SMART PRESIDENT, and President Obama will RISE to the Challenge, the Democrats are now FIRED UP and READY to GO. America has no LOST the IDEA of CHANGE, and WE elected , by a LANDSLIDE a TIME for CHANGE. Small Businesses, a 30 BILLON from TARP, 47.0000 LOANS to SBA. We Shall Overcome SOMEDAY.God bless you President Obama, and GOD Bless this GREAT PLANET, and to EVERY RACE to ALL NATIONS, God bring US PEACE.

    February 6, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Hammerer

    If Obama is sincere about jobs for the middle class he could create 15 million jobs immediately at very little cost by enforcing the immigration laws on the books. Jobs would be created billions of dollars would be saved from the costs of supporting the 30 million illegals now living in the country.
    I know that the Dems will not because they would lose the votes. But Obama has said that he would not play politics with the jobs issue and the recovery issue. We will see.

    February 6, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Mike in MN

    If Obama really wants to be bipartisian he should go out of his way to admit he was wrong when he rejected the Republican idea to cut small business capital gains over and over again in the past. He should infact praise the Republicans for being forward thinkers and ahead of the curve and admit he is just catching up.
    And given how Obama now seems to favor tax cuts to help grow jobs and the economy, he should go out of his way to say that tax cuts are not part of failed Bush/Republican policies and start trashing progressives from his own party when they say so.
    If Obama is serious about bipartisianship, he should admit Republicans have been right all along on tax cuts and that progressive Democrats have been wrong.
    But his approach to propose tax cuts now and to defiy Republicans to vote against tax them, after trashing Republicans for proposing the same tax cuts in past, won't win him any new Republican friends.

    February 6, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. Bill, NY

    I admire and respect our president, but lets face the facts. If there is not a buck in it for our elected officials, forget about it. Its all about what they can put in their own pockets. Just look at the lobbying in respect to student loans. Our goverment gives our money to financial institutions which charge us to borrow our own money. Elected officials for their own personal gain are going to allow this to continue. Small businesses do not make large contributions to political campaigns so thay will get squat.

    February 6, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Mike in MN

    I expect there will be bipartisian support for tax cuts to help small business as long as the bill is not loaded with pork as was the past stimuls bill and is paid for by spending cuts elsewhere.
    However, if Obama does not give Republicans full credit for having proposed these same tax cuts in the past and does not confess he was wrong all along for opposing them, expect Republicans to make a huge effort to call Obama out and trash him big time for trying to take Republican ideas he had previously trashed and make them sound like his own.

    February 6, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Mike in MN

    Obama is a slime. He says his proposals are not Democrat or Republican, not liberal or conservative. Bull!! The cuting of the capital gain tax was supported by McCain in the 2008 campaign and rejected by Obama as more of the same Bush failed policies. Republicans wanted it to be included in the stimulius and Obama rejected and said it was more of the same failed Bush policies.
    Now he wants to take credit for it as just a good pro jobs policy as if he has not trashed it in the past.
    What a slime!

    February 6, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. Renee

    Thank you President Obama.

    February 6, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. chris l

    Obama Promotes small business? LOL Its already funny

    February 6, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. in AK

    more lies! more socialism! more spending! more taxes embedded on our children! obama and dems are done in 2010/2012!

    February 7, 2010 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
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