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Economy Top of Agenda For Washington


John Stang – News Editor

The economy seems to be one of the top items in Washington at the current moment.  President Obama has been working on trying to get a bill passed to help small businesses, finding a way to increase exports in the U.S., and is fighting Republicans about whether to extend the Bush tax cuts that expire in December.

“It’s still a choice between sliding backward and moving forward. That’s what this election is about. That’s the choice you’ll face in November,” lamented the President in a speech in Cleveland last week.

One way that President Obama is trying solve the problem is to increase lending to small businesses.  Yesterday, a bill passed the senate that had $300 billion in relief for the purposes of helping small businesses have the ability to hire again.  The Washington Independent notes that the bill is said to create 500,000 jobs in two years. The bill passed 61-38 in the senate with two Republicans crossing party lines.

Another item on the president’s agenda is to try and double U.S. exports in about two years. President Obama believes that by increasing exports, businesses will start hiring again.

“The more American companies export, the more they produce. And the more they produce, the more people they hire,” Obama explained. “That means more jobs – good jobs that often pay as much as 15 percent more than average.”

One final hurdle that Obama must get over is the debate about extending the Bush tax cuts which expire in December because they were passed through a special congressional procedure that put a limit on it. Surrounding the debate is whether to extend all the tax cuts or just some for the middle class.  Democrats have framed the debate as Republicans wanting to extend the tax cuts for the wealthy.  Republicans counter that raising taxes during a recession would be detrimental for growth and that some small businesses fall in the upper percentage that the tax cuts target specifically.

“If we’re serious about taking action to help our economy get back to creating jobs, Democrats and Republicans must come together and pass legislation this month that makes significant cuts in spending and stops President Obama’s tax hike on small businesses,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a statement.

Both parties will try and use these economic policies as issues for the 2010 midterm campaign season in November. Debate will surely continue to flourish on both sides for the months ahead.