President Bush praised the achievements of the nation's small business sector on Friday.   Speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the president pledged continued support for the small business community and outlined steps his administration is taking to insure that small businesses continue to grow.  VOA's Mil Arcega reports.

Small businesses create more than 70 percent of all the new jobs in the United States -- roughly 1.7 million last year.   Speaking to business leaders on Friday, President Bush went a step further and called small businesses -- the economic backbone of the U.S. economy.

"Thank you for being dreamers and doers.  One of the reasons I spend a lot of time talking about small business owners in America is because I truly believe you represent what makes America great," Mr Bush said.

Despite the slowdown caused by the U.S. housing crisis -- Mr. Bush assured business leaders that his administration's economic incentives will ensure that small businesses remain competitive.

"There should be no doubt in anyone's mind though that we'll recover from this slowdown and we're going to bounce back strong and the small businesses of America are going to lead the way," he added.

Millions of Americans will receive rebate checks - up to $1,800 for some families - starting next month.  Bush says the checks will encourage greater consumer spending and help businesses sell more products.

But the president warned that U.S. lawmakers must take the necessary steps to make sure American businesses succeed. 

Mr. Bush says, "The last thing small business owners need is higher taxes.  I believe strongly that to make sure this economy recovers and stays strong, there needs to be certainty in the tax code.  And the best way for congress to make sure there is certainty is to make the tax relief we passed, permanent."

The president has officially proclaimed April 20th to April 26th, Small Business week to celebrate the achievements of small business owners and recognize their efforts in building the largest economy in the world.