Obama slams GOP on taxes, small business aid

By the CNN Wire Staff


CNN -- President Barack Obama tore into GOP congressional leaders again Wednesday for trying to block his small business aid bill and opposing his plan to extend the Bush tax cuts only to those making under $250,000.

Flanked by his economic team at the White House, the president specifically thanked GOP Sens. George Voinovich of Ohio and George LeMieux of Florida for breaking with the Republican leadership on the small business bill.

The two senators helped the $42 billion measure clear a key procedural hurdle on Tuesday, setting it up for final passage.

They understand "we don't have time to play games" anymore, Obama said.

The measure is expected to create 500,000 jobs, according to a summary of the bill from the Senate.

Among other things, it would authorize the creation of a $30 billion fund run by the Treasury Department that would deliver ultra-cheap capital to banks with less than $10 billion in assets.

The idea is that community banks do the lion's share of lending to small businesses, and pumping capital into them will get money in the hands of Main Street businesses.

Obama said he is "grateful" that Congress is now on the verge of passing the bill -- which had been stalled until the two senators broke from GOP leaders -- but he added that it "should not have taken this long."

The president also said Republican leaders are holding "middle class tax cuts hostage" by refusing to sign on to his plan to allow the Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans to expire.

Republicans have repeatedly expressed their opposition to any tax hikes in light of the weak economic recovery. They've asserted that allowing taxes to rise on those making over $250,000 would result in a hit on small businesses.

All of the Bush tax cuts are currently set to expire at the end of this year.

--CNN's Alan Silverleib and Catherine Clifford contributed to this report. To top of page

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