Obama Urges Senate to Pass Small Business Bill

Features Reuters

President Barack Obama on Thursday urged the U.S. Senate to pass a stalled small business lending bill, saying recent weak economic data underscores even more the need for the legislation.

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Obama was speaking after new data showed U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed to a nine-month high last week, dealing a fresh blow to the frail economy.
He again lambasted Republicans in the Senate for repeatedly blocking the bill, saying their actions were obstructing vital aid for small businesses.

"This is a bill that makes sense and normally we would expect Democrats and Republicans to join together," Obama said at the White House. "Unfortunately, a partisan minority in the Senate so far has refused to allow this jobs bill to come up for a vote."

Republicans are upset that Democrats shut them out during discussions to amend the package, which they say is another example of too much government spending.

The bill provides for a $30 billion fund to invest in community banks to bolster lending. It also would provide tax credits and a limited capital gains exemption.

Small businesses, which account for two-thirds of jobs created in the United States, have been hit hard by the credit crunch, making it difficult for them to expand.

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"They need help and if we want this economy to create more jobs more quickly we need to help them," Obama said.

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