Obama takes more steps on own to help businesses
WASHINGTON—Pushing a campaign to act without Congress, President Barack Obama moved unilaterally Friday to boost private business.
He signed executive orders aimed at spurring economic growth, capping a week in which Obama sought to employ the power of his office as he struggles to make headway on his jobs bill on Capitol Hill.
Obama's orders direct government agencies to shorten the time it takes for federal research to turn into commercial products in the marketplace. The goal is to help startup companies and small businesses create jobs and expand their operations more quickly.
On the other front, Obama called for creation of a centralized online site, to be known as BusinessUSA, for companies to easily find information on federal services. The site, a recommendation of the president's jobs council, is to be up and running within 90 days and will be designed with input from U.S. businesses.
Obama announced both steps in presidential memos released Friday morning.
"Today, I am directing my administration to take two important steps to help American businesses create new products, compete in a global economy, and create jobs here at home," Obama said. The White House had no estimate for how many jobs would be created.
On a larger scale, the president himself announced two other executive actions this week, one offering help for homeowners seeking to refinance at lower mortgage rates and the other allowing college students to simplify and lower their student loan payments. The White House also issued a challenge to community health centers in a bid to help get veterans jobs.
White House aides expect more such actions in coming days. Obama, up for re-election, is waging a public campaign to show voters he is acting on jobs more than Republicans are.
The Republicans who control the House counter that their economic bills have not been considered in the Senate. And they question Obama's latest tactic.
"This idea that you're just going to go around the Congress is just, it's almost laughable," House Speaker John Boehner told radio talk show host Laura Ingraham on Thursday.