President Barack Obama called on U.S. businesses to invest in the country - urging them to contact his business council if they had concerns about why they shouldn't, ahead of the group's first meeting later this month.
Now is the time to invest in America. Today, American companies have nearly $2 trillion sitting on their balance sheets, Obama told business lobbyists of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Monday. He recent tax legislation lets business expense all capital investments.
Obama's speech comes ahead of negotiations with Congress about his Administration's budget for 2012 which is expected to decrease in size. The President has set out a priority for spending government funds to make U.S. businesses more competitive globally and add more jobs the the economy.
His plans include allocated funds for improving the nation's infrastructure such as roads, bridges and boosting internet access to most Americans; improving education, especially at the college level; and promoting innovation through research spending for new technologies.
Obama said the Chamber and the AFL-CIO, which represents unions, don't agree on a whole lot. However the heads of those organizations agree on the need to build 21st century infrastructure.
While the President has proposed cuts covering about 12 percent of the budget, Republican Party members in Congress are pushing for bigger cuts than the President has asked for.
The President called on businesses to seize upon a spirit of patriotism to help boost the U.S. economy.
And that spirit of patriotism, that sense of mutual regard and common obligation has carried us through times far harder than these, Obama said, recalling President Franklin Roosevelt's outreach to businesses in the late 1930s amid the Great Depression.
And business leaders answered the call to serve their country, Obama said. The period that followed found U.S. businesses switch to making wartime products during World War II.
I know you love this country and want America to succeed just as badly as I do, Obama said.
Obama said his council President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness would meet on February 24th.