President Obama Assures Americans in Impromptu Press Conference
President Barack Obama this morning called an almost-impromptu press conference to assure the American people that his administration is on top of the economic turmoil. Late last night, officials announced that the President would address the press in the Oval Office after his daily briefing on the economy. Then this morning the event was moved to 12:30 in the Rose Garden, indicating an event of a more formal nature. After the time was pushed back a couple more times, the President finally took the podium at 1:20 ET, only to have the public address system fizzle out after delivering just five sentences. Once technical difficulties were solved, Mr. Obama continued with his remarks.
The purpose of the Obama's speech today appeared to be two-fold: he pleaded with Senate Republicans to stop blocking an initiative he proposed to cut taxes in an effort to get small businesses to expand and create jobs, in addition to a new $30 billion initiative to increase small business' access to loans. Obama's second message was directed at the American people, saying that his "economic team is hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference in both promoting growth and hiring in the short term and increasing our economy's competitiveness in the long term.."
The President said he would address those additional measures in the weeks to come in further detail. Some proposals that the administration has been discussing are further cutting corporate taxes to stimulate job growth and the renewal of Bush tax cuts for those who earn under $200k per year; those cuts are currently set to expire at year's end.
The President argued for the small business lending initiative vehemently, saying that small businesses are ready to invest and expand which would ultimately help to reduce unemployment, the main hindrance to a long-term economic recovery. The bill would also free up $55 billion in tax relief which the President believes small businesses would re-invest in the economy over the next fourteen months. But, he accused the Senate-minority Republicans of stalling the bill, which has been in their hands for months, yet hasn't even been brought to a vote. Obama also claimed that the bill is already paid for and would not even add to the deficit, and the only reason to block the bill is partisan politics.
"The small-business owners and the communities that rely on them, they don't have time for political games," Obama remarked. "They shouldn't
have to wait any longer.....I know we're entering election season, but the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things
done and improve this economy." He went on to say that with the serious challenges facing the American economy, the nation's leaders
need to "rise above the politics of the moment to summon an equal seriousness of purpose."
The Senate is currently on break and won't return until September 13th, when a Senate insider says their first
piece of business will be a vote on a Republican amendment to the small business bill.