Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

“It is our generation’s task, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth —
a rising, thriving middle class,”

— President Barack Obama

Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

Business in America News

  • Vice President Biden Announces Boosts for Small Business in Ohio

    Watch Vice President Biden announce $20 billion in additional small business lending here.

    Small businesses across the country got a boost yesterday when Vice President Biden announced that 13 of the nation’s largest banks, in partnership with the Small Business Administration, have committed to increase small business lending by a combined $20 billion over the next three years.

    Speaking with SBA Administrator Karen Mills at Wrap Tite Inc. – a small packing and shipping material company in Solon, Ohio – the Vice President told the story of how a recent $1.5 million SBA-supported loan allowed Wrap Tite to purchase and renovate a new facility in Solon, as well as hire five new workers.  The new lending commitments announced today means more small businesses like Wrap Tite will have access to the capital they need to help grow the nation’s economy at the local level. As Vice President Biden said, "Small business men and women – who are the engine of economic growth in America – create two out of every three jobs in America."

    But, as the Vice President said in Ohio, the lending boost for small businesses is only part of the story, and we cannot stop there. Urging Congress to pass the American Jobs Act right away, he described two key ways the bill would help small businesses grow and hire in Ohio and across the country – by cutting their taxes and putting money back in their customer’s pockets:

  • The America Invents Act: Turning Ideas into Jobs

    Watch President Obama sign the America Invents Act here.

    This morning, I had the great honor of watching President Obama sign the America Invents Act at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, Virginia—a school named for the first official to issue U.S. patents.  This historic legislation will help American entrepreneurs and businesses get their inventions to the marketplace sooner so they can turn their ideas into new products and new jobs.  

    The America Invents Act was passed with President Obama’s strong leadership after nearly a decade of effort to reform the Nation’s outdated patent laws.  It will help companies and inventors avoid costly delays and unnecessary litigation, and let them focus instead on innovation and job creation.  Many key industries in which the United States leads, such as biotechnology, medical devices, telecommunications, the Internet, and advanced manufacturing, depend on a strong and healthy intellectual property system.  

    As President Obama explained in his 2011 State of the Union address:  “We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time.  We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.”  

    On stage with President Obama was a bipartisan group of legislators who came together to pass the most significant reform of the Patent Act since 1836:  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT); Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX); Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA); Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA); and Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC). Today’s bill signing shows that strong bipartisan cooperation is possible. Congress can come together on behalf of the American economy and American innovation.  

    The newly-signed law has a number of important transformations that will build on reforms already underway under the leadership of the US Patent and Trademark Office's dynamic Director David Kappos. The law will give the USPTO the resources to significantly reduce patent application waiting times, building on the great strides the patent office has already made, including reducing its backlog by 75,000 during this Administration even as the number of filings per year has increased.  

    A few months ago, Austan Goolsbee (then Chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers) created a video explaining why reducing the backlog will help get more ideas turned into companies and jobs. The USPTO will now be in a position to implement an innovative program to speed up the processing of the patents that are likely to create good jobs right away. Under the prioritized examination process, the USPTO will offer start-ups and growing companies an opportunity to have important patents reviewed in one-third the time with a new fast-track option that has a guaranteed 12-month turnaround.  

    The program builds on the Green Technology Pilot program that accelerates patent applications involving reduced greenhouse gas emissions and energy conservation — at no cost to the inventor. More than 2,407 petitions have been granted to green technology patent applicants since the pilot began in December 2009, and USPTO has issued a total of 470 patents under the program.  

    Excessive litigation has long plagued the patent system.  The America Invents Act will offer entrepreneurs new ways to avoid litigation regarding patent validity, without the expense of  going to court, and will also give the USPTO new tools and resources to improve patent quality. The new law also will harmonize the American patent process with the rest of the world to make it more efficient and predictable, and make it easier for entrepreneurs to simultaneously market products in the United States and for exporting abroad.  

    President Obama at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

    President Barack Obama examines a robot created in the school’s prototyping and robotics senior research labs at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., Sept. 16, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    At Thomas Jefferson High School, President Obama also announced some of the additional steps we’re taking to unleash the ingenuity of America’s entrepreneurs.  The National Institutes of Health will launch a new center that will help companies reduce the time and cost required to develop life-saving drugs, and is making it easier for startups to commercialize the biomedical inventions made by NIH and FDA researchers.  In addition, the Administration will develop a “bioeconomy blueprint” to create jobs and address key national challenges in health, energy, and agriculture.

    We also know that government cannot do this alone. That’s why 140 university presidents have answered the Administration’s call to action to move research breakthroughs from the lab to the marketplace.  We’re also announcing a new prize supported by the National Science Foundation and the Coulter Foundation to reward those universities that make the most progress on accelerating economic growth and job creation. 

    Now more than ever, the jobs of the future will spring from the inventions of today, which will be built on the foundation of a strong and balanced intellectual property system. As President Obama explained today, “We should be encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit wherever we find it.  We should be helping American companies compete and sell their products all over the world.  We should be making it easier and faster to turn new ideas into new businesses and new jobs.  And we should knock down any barriers that stand in the way.”  

    Have questions on the America Invents Act? Today, US Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra will be answering your questions with USPTO Director David Kappos during an Open for Questions event on WhiteHouse.gov. Join us live at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 16th. Here's how it works and how you can participate:

  • Open for Questions: The American Jobs Act

    On Thursday, September 15th at 2:00PM EDT, the White House will host a special “Open for Questions” event.

    Last week, President Obama unveiled the American Jobs Act before a Joint Session of Congress and yesterday the President sent the American Jobs Act to Congress. This plan puts more people back to work and puts more money in the pockets of working Americans. On Thursday, September 15th at 2:00PM EDT Obama Administration officials will answer questions submitted through Facebook, Twitter, and the White House website during a live event that you won’t want to miss. 

    Participating Obama Administration include:

    • Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council
    • Jon Carson, Deputy Assistant to the President & Director of the Office of Public Engagement

    Right now, you can submit questions through:

    On September 15th at 2:00 p.m. EDT, you can watch and engage live:

  • Open for Questions: Youth and the American Jobs Act

    Hi everyone. I’d like to invite you to a very special edition of “Open for Questions” on Wednesday, September 14th, at 4:00PM EDT. Please join me and senior White House officials as we field questions on how the American Jobs Act will impact young Americans. I'll moderate this conversation with:

    • Michael Pyle, Special Assistant to the President, National Economic Council
    • Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy

    We’ve already received a number of questions about the American Jobs Act, like:

    • How will the President’s plan support young entrepreneurs?
    • Will the plan help prevent police, firefighters and teacher layoffs?
    • What programs will the American Jobs Act support on youth employment?

    On Wednesday, we'll answer these questions, and many more. So, send us your questions and please be sure to tune in for the live video chat. Here's how you can participate:

    Right now, you can:

  • Final Regulatory Reform Plans Will Save Money, Reduce Waste

    In January of this year, the President emphasized that our regulatory system “must measure, and seek to improve, the actual results of regulatory requirements.” With this point in mind, he ordered an unprecedentedly ambitious government-wide review of existing federal regulations. He directed agencies and departments to produce plans to eliminate red tape and to streamline current requirements.

    Today, we are announcing that agencies are releasing their final regulatory reform plans, including hundreds of initiatives that will reduce costs, simplify the system, and eliminate redundancy and inconsistency.

    As the plans demonstrate, a great deal has been achieved in a short time. Significant burden-reducing rules have been finalized or publicly proposed from the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Transportation. These rules are expected to save more than $4 billion over the next five years.

  • President Obama Signs Small Business Jobs Act - Learn What's In It

    Download Video: mp4 (150MB) | mp3 (15MB)

    “I’m thrilled to be here on what is an exciting day,” said the President as he prepared to sign the Small Business Jobs Act this afternoon.  With small business owners who will receive tax breaks and better access to credit in the audience, the President explained to everybody why he has fought so long for it:

    Now this is important because small businesses produce most of the new jobs in this country.  They are the anchors of our Main Streets.  They are part of the promise of America – the idea that if you’ve got a dream and you’re willing to work hard, you can succeed.  That’s what leads a worker to leave a job to become her own boss.  That’s what propels a basement inventor to sell a new product – or an amateur chef to open a restaurant.  It’s this promise that has drawn millions to our shores and made our economy the envy of the world.

    The bill includes a series of small business proposals that the President put forth earlier this year, and small businesses will start benefiting from the bill on day one. Among the many important provisions in the bill, twelve of the top benefits to small businesses are:

    • Extension of Successful SBA Recovery Loan Provisions —Immediately Supporting Loans to Over 1,400 Small Businesses: With funds provided in the bill, SBA will begin funding new Recovery loans within a few days of the President’s signature, starting with the more than 1,400 businesses – with loans totaling more than $730 million – that are waiting in the Recovery Loan Queue. In total, the extension of these provisions provides the capacity to support $14 billion in loans to small businesses.  The SBA Recovery loan provisions have already supported $30 billion in lending to over 70,000 small business.
    • A More Than Doubling of the Maximum Loan Size for The Largest SBA Programs:The bill also increases the maximum loan size for SBA loan programs, which in the coming weeks will allow more small businesses to access more credit to allow them to expand and create new jobs. The bill will permanently raise the maximum size for SBA’s two largest loan programs, increasing the maximum 7(a) and 504 loans from $2 million to $5 million, and the maximum 504 manufacturing related loan from $4 million to $5.5 million.  In addition, it will temporarily increase the maximum loan size for SBA Express loans from $350,000 to $1 million, providing greater access to working capital loans that small businesses use to purchase new inventory and take on their next order – allowing them to create new jobs.
    • A New $30 Billion Small Business Lending Fund:The bill would establish a new $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund which – by providing capital to small banks with incentives to increase small business lending – could support several multiples of that amount in new credit.
    • An Initiative to Strengthen Innovative State Small Business Programs – Supporting Over $15 Billion in Lending:The bill will support at least $15 billion in small business lending through a new State Small Business Credit Initiative, strengthening state small business programs that leverage private-sector lenders to extend additional credit – many of which have been forced to cut back due to budget cuts.
    • Eight New Small Business Tax Cuts – Effective Today, Providing Immediate Incentives to Invest: The President had already signed into law eight small business tax cuts, and on Monday, he is signing into law another eight new tax cuts that go into effect immediately.
      • Zero Taxes on Capital Gains from Key Small Business Investments:Under the Recovery Act, 75 percent of capital gains on key small business investments this year were excluded from taxes. The Small Business Jobs Act temporarily puts in place for the rest of 2010 a provision called for by the President – elimination of all capital gains taxes on these investments if held for five years. Over one million small businesses are eligible to receive investments this year that, if held for five years or longer, could be completely excluded from any capital gains taxation.
      •  Extension and Expansion of Small Businesses’ Ability to Immediately Expense Capital Investments: The bill increases for 2010 and 2011 the amount of investments that businesses would be eligible to immediately write off to $500,000, while raising the level of investments at which the write-off phases out to $2 million. Prior to the passage of the bill, the expensing limit would have been $250,000 this year, and only $25,000 next year.  This provision means that 4.5 million small businesses and individuals will be able to make new business investments today and know that they will earn a larger break on their taxes for this year.
      • Extension of 50% Bonus Depreciation: The bill extends – as the President proposed in his budget – a Recovery Act provision for 50 percent “bonus depreciation” through 2010, providing 2 million businesses, large and small, with the ability to make new investments today and know they can receive a tax cut for this year by accelerating the rate at which they deduct capital expenditures.
      •  A New Deduction of Health Insurance Costs for Self-Employed:The bill allows 2 million self-employed to know that on their taxes for this year, they can get a deduction for the cost of health insurance for themselves and their family members in calculating their self-employment taxes. This provision is estimated to provide over $1.9 billion in tax cuts for these entrepreneurs.
      • Tax Relief and Simplification for Cell Phone Deductions:The bill changes rules so that the use of cell phones can be deducted without burdensome extra documentation – making it easier for virtually every small business in America to receive deductions that they are entitled to, beginning on their taxes for this year.
      •  An Increase in the Deduction for Entrepreneurs’ Start-Up Expenses:The bill temporarily increases the amount of start-up expenditures entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes for this year from $5,000 to $10,000 (with a phase-out threshold of $60,000 in expenditures), offering an immediate incentive for someone with a new business idea to invest in starting up a new small business today.
      • A Five-Year Carryback Of General Business Credits:The bill would allow certain small businesses to “carry back” their general business credits to offset five years of taxes – providing them with a break on their taxes for this year – while also allowing these credits to offset the Alternative Minimum Tax, reducing taxes for these small businesses.
      • Limitations on Penalties for Errors in Tax Reporting That Disproportionately Affect Small Business:The bill would change, beginning this year, the penalty for failing to report certain tax transactions from a fixed dollar amount – which was criticized for imposing a disproportionately large penalty on small businesses in certain circumstances – to a percentage of the tax benefits from the transaction.