Facing GOP criticism, Obama announces benefits for small businesses

President Obama didn't want to spend too much time dwelling on the disappointing job numbers on the campaign trail. Instead, he is trying to make the case that electing Mitt Romney, who is proposing $5 trillion in tax cuts, would lead to an economic disaster. Norah O'Donnell reports.
Obama on poor jobs numbers

(CBS News) After two days of Republican attacks slamming President Obama for being bad for small businesses, the White House unveiled 6 actions intended to help small business, including a tax break and easier access to capital.

Republicans pounced after the president's announcement Monday that he would push to extend only the Bush-era tax cuts for those making $250,000 or less, saying that move would harm small businesses and stunt job creation.

"Those that are job creators and small businesses are going to see a massive tax increase and that will kill jobs," Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in an interview with Radio Iowa. "It will kill jobs in this country and hurt the middle class. The right answer is to extend the tax rates as they currently exist indefinitely until we put in place an entirely new and reformed system."

House Speaker John Boehner added, "Why we would want to tax the people that we expect to create jobs in this country makes no economic sense."

Wednesday morning, the White House announced via a statement that the president is moving forward on several initiatives, most through executive action, which allow the provisions to take effect immediately without having to seek approval from Congress.

Watch a report on how Obama is making taxes a key election issue in the video to the left.

The provisions include increasing the loan amount available to small businesses through the Small Loan Advantage 2.0 program, streamlining applications for surety bonds under $250,000, reducing paperwork for the Disaster Loan Program.

Another provision the White House announced Wednesday, which ensures small business contractors that work with the government receive immediate payment, has already been implemented. CBS Radio News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports that the White House announced the same action in September 2011. However, the White House says the new provision goes further, ensuring subcontractors receive payment within 15 days by providing a contract modification clause.

One additional provision, which needs Congressional approval, would allow small business to write-off capital investments up to $250,000. The White House says that without an extension of the tax incentive, the expensing limit would drop to $25,000.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said the the president's announcement is "no solace for small businesses facing a huge tax increase next year," referring to the president's proposal to let some of the Bush-era tax cuts expire.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.