WASHINGTON (CN) – To bring down the nation’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate, President Obama on Friday asked Congress to pass a small business jobs bill as soon as it returns from its summer break. The president asked Republicans to stop the “needless delay” in passing the bill.
The bill is intended to help small businesses get credit, and spur job creation.
“One thing we have a responsibility to do right now is to lift up our small businesses,” Obama said in the Rose Garden. He said the bill would ramp up efforts to waive fees for new business owners applying for Small Business Administration loans and encourage community banks to lend to small businesses.
“We’re moving in the right direction, we just have to speed it up,” Obama said, highlighting new Labor Department data showing that the U.S. economy added 67,000 private sector jobs in August. He said it was the eighth consecutive month of private job growth.
“It’s positive news … but its not nearly good enough,” the president said.
Obama has continuously pointed to private sector, small business growth as a primary driver in job creation and broader economic recovery.
Private companies have added 763,000 jobs so far this year. By contrast, the economy was losing 750,000 jobs a month in early 2009. Economists say the economy needs to be adding 300,000 jobs a month to reach a full recovery.
The small business jobs bill would increase the amount of loan money available to small businesses, eliminate capital gains taxes, and provide $55 billion in tax cuts for businesses that aim to create jobs in the next 14 months.
Obama billed it as a “sure measure” to advance recovery by helping businesses start hiring and make investments that they put off making during the recession.
“There are better days ahead,” Obama said, adding that the United States still leads the world in productivity, market dynamism and innovation and entrepreneurship.
Obama said he will hold a press conference on the administration’s new package of ideas for the economy this week.
When asked by a reporter if he regretted the administration’s decision to label the past few months “Recovery Summer,” Obama said, “I don’t regret the notion that we are moving forward because of the steps that we’ve taken.”