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U.S. President Barack Obama is calling on the nation's banks -
especially those that received taxpayer bailouts - to give more loans
to small businesses. The
president says small businesses are the engine that drives the U.S.
President Obama says small businesses have created
about two-thirds of all new jobs in America over the last 15 years, but
now they are having trouble getting credit.
"Over the past
couple of years, small businesses have lost hundreds of thousands of
jobs," he said. "Many have struggled to get the loans they need to
finance their inventories and make payroll. Many entrepreneurs cannot
get financing to start a small business in the first place."
his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, the president says his
$787-billion economic stimulus package and other initiatives have
enabled banks to unfreeze credit and start lending again to big
Now, he says, those banks should pay the taxpayers back by lending to small businesses.
is time for those banks to fulfill their responsibility to help ensure
a wider recovery, a more secure system, and more broadly shared
prosperity," said the president. "And we are going to take every
appropriate step to encourage them to meet those responsibilities."
the past week, Mr. Obama called on Congress to increase the maximum
size of government loans to small businesses, and to make more credit
available to small community banks.
The president also says his
health reform plan will help small businesses by offering employee
health insurance and giving tax breaks to the businesses.
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Republican Party message, Senator Mike Johanns, from the Central state
of Nebraska, says the Democrats' health overhaul proposals will make
life worse for many Americans.
"True health care reform should
decrease what you are paying and make it easier for you to receive
care," he said. "That should be a no-brainer. Yet current proposals in
Congress do not accomplish this goal, and could even have the opposite
And Senator Johanns says secret political deals are
being made on health reform, contrary to President Obama's promise of
"However, a 1,500 page bill, full of carve-outs
and backroom deals, is currently being brokered behind closed doors,"
he said. "We are about to significantly alter one-sixth of our
economy. Now is not the time to shut Americans out."
wants Congress to pass health care reform legislation by the end of the
year. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are discussing