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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the President at Roundtable with Small Business Owners

Taylor Gourmet
Washington, D.C.

10:44 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, listen, what I just want to say to the reporters who are here:  You've got three small businesses who are outstanding examples of American entrepreneurship, whether it's food services, retail, construction.  All across the country, you're seeing examples of folks who have confidence in the economy and have confidence in America, and it's their ingenuity and their hard work that's allowed them to be successful. 

But organizations like the SBA have also made a difference, because sometimes private financing isn't willing to take a chance on a couple of young guys who have an idea about starting a great hoagie shop.  Sometimes, it may be that a smaller business like a construction business where it's relatively capital intensive is going to have difficulty competing with some of the larger companies in terms of buying the equipment that they need.

And so actions by Congress and good execution by the Small Business Administration can make a big difference in helping these folks see -- it's not going to do it for them, it's not going to make up for bad service or a bad product, but when you've got a great service or a great product and people are willing to work really hard, then action by government and the SBA can help give them a hand up and get them started. 

And this is the reason why we think it's so important for Congress to act right now.  The economy is recovering, but we've still got a long way to go.  Too many folks are still out of work.  We’ve got some headwinds, the situation in Europe, and still a difficult housing market. 

And so we want to sustain momentum.  And one of the ways that we can sustain momentum is for Congress to take some actions right now -- even though it’s election season, even though there’s gridlock, even though there’s partisanship -- take some actions right now that would really make a difference.  And we’ve put together a handy “To-Do” list; it’s very short.  I’ve been talking about it over the last couple of weeks. 

One of the items on that “To-Do” list would be to provide tax breaks for companies like these that are hiring new employees or raising the wages and salaries of their existing employees.  Either way, what that does is it gives them an incentive as their expanding to say, maybe we hire an extra two people.  Maybe we hire an extra three people.  Maybe we hire an extra ten people. 

And they will have additional resources to continue to grow and to continue to expand.  It’s something that in the past has been an idea that garnered support from Democrats and Republicans.  There’s no reason why we shouldn’t act on that right now, the same way that we should be allowing all families to refinance, because if they’ve got an extra $3,000 in their pocket, then they can buy more hoagies or go shop for some outstanding organic foods. 

And it’s the same reason why all the other items on the “To-Do” list could really make a difference.  For example, some of these small businesses may be interested in hiring a veteran, and we’ve already done a lot of work on veterans hiring.  A lot of the items on the “To-Do” list is a Veterans Job Corps that could potentially put some veterans who are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan to work rebuilding America. 

So my message to Congress -- and I’m going to have a chance to see the congressional leadership when I get back to the White House -- I’m going to offer them some hoagies while they’re there -- is let’s go ahead and act to help build and sustain momentum for our economy.  There will be more than enough time for us to campaign and politick, but let’s make sure that we don’t lose steam at a time when a lot of folks like these are feeling pretty optimistic and are ready to go.

All right.  Thank you, everybody.

10:50 A.M. EDT