Obama Urges GOP to Back Small-Business Bill

Posted August 19, 2010 at 2:33pm

President Barack Obama on Thursday gave a final push to Senate Republicans to get behind a stalled small-business jobs package before heading out the door for a 10-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard.

During brief remarks at the White House, Obama accused Senate Republicans of displaying a kind of “obstruction that defies common sense” by using procedural tactics to delay action on the bill aimed at giving tax breaks and new incentives to small businesses.

The president chided a “partisan minority in the Senate” for repeatedly blocking the bill from coming up for a vote, particularly since it includes GOP ideas and is fully paid for.

“There are times when good people disagree in good faith. But this is not one of those times,” he said.

Obama pointed to a new Labor Department report that “compels us” to act on the legislation; the report found that small businesses with fewer than 50 employees accounted for more than 60 percent of the nation’s job losses by the end of last year.

“When Congress reconvenes, this jobs bill will be the first business out of the gate,” he added. “The Senate Republican leadership needs to stop its efforts to block it. Let’s put aside the partisanship for a while.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell put the blame squarely on Democrats for the issue stalling out.

“It takes a lot of effort to make a partisan issue out of a bill that should have broad bipartisan support. But our friends on the other side have outdone themselves,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement.

McConnell said the bill, which first surfaced in June, was not a priority to Democrats until “they realized that they didn’t have anything to talk about when they go home in August.” He noted that Democrats have set the bill aside six times to move on to other issues.

“We’ll take it up again in September when the Senate returns,” he said.