Obama calls for GOP to rally behind small-business loans

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 28, 2010; 4:00 PM

President Obama said Wednesday that Republicans should join Democrats in passing legislation to help provide loans to small businesses.

Speaking at the Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, N.J., Obama touched on an issue that is fast emerging as a rhetorical battleground for the two parties. The president, whose remarks echoed comments he made Tuesday in the Rose Garden, also sought to pressure GOP lawmakers to vote in favor of the legislation.

"The provisions of this bill are things that the Republican Party has supported for years," Obama said. "This is as American as apple pie. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They are central to our identity as a nation."

He added: "I expect us to get this done."

Even before the president's remarks, Republican lawmakers had complained that it was Democrats -- not the GOP -- who had stalled its passage by moving ahead with votes on other legislation first.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement that "Republicans have offered a number of ideas to improve the small business bill and until now, those amendments have been obstructed by the other side, and along with them, the bill itself."

The vote on the legislation, which provides incentives to get loans flowing to small businesses, could come as early as Wednesday night.

Obama's remarks came after he met privately with the sub shop's owner and other small-business leaders. (Obama ordered a six-inch super sub with everything after complaining that he couldn't eat a 12-incher now that he's 49.)

"The recession has meant that folks are spending less. . . . Small business has had a tougher time getting credit," Obama said. "Government can't guarantee success, but it can knock down barriers that keep entrepreneurs from growing or expanding."

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