Obama urges Congress to assist small business

By JIM KUHNHENN Modified: February 1, 2012 at 1:12 am •  Published: February 1, 2012

In addition, the president's proposals would make it easier for startup companies to raise money and to go public, embracing a series of measures that already have passed the House or that have bipartisan support in the Senate. Obama also is proposing expanding a government small business investment program from $3 billion to $4 billion.

“The president has made small businesses and particularly startups a key aspect of his economic growth agenda because he understands how much the newest and fastest-growing small businesses drive job growth in our economy,” said Gene Sperling, director of the White House National Economic Council.

Obama said the Homeland Security Department also is seeking ways to change the visa process to attract foreign-born entrepreneurs and high-skilled immigrants to invest in the United States or start new businesses. The State Department also plans a change in regulations to provide longer visas for workers whose employers transfer them to the United States.

The measures are modest by comparison to Obama's 2009 economic stimulus or to last year's jobs bill. But they borrow from past Obama initiatives and from bipartisan legislation in Congress that has passed or been proposed.

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