With the National Association of Manufacturers’ board of directors in town for the annual meeting, visits to the White House and Capitol Hill have been the order of the day, as manufacturers make the case for House passage of the economic stabilization bill.
Fifteen board members — mostly from small and medium-sized companies — visited this morning with President Bush, highlighting the fact that suppliers and customers have been affected by the tightening of credit. Real anxiety about businesses, jobs and livelihoods is on the rise.
The President summarized the conversation well in a media availability afterward:
Our discussion today centered around credit. I know there’s a lot of discussions in the newspapers and on TV about the credit freeze. Well, let me tell you what this means. It means that if you’re running a small company and you need to make payroll, or you need to make sure you got inventory to be able to sell a product, or you want to expand so you can hire somebody, you need to have credit. You need to be able to have money on a regular basis from your local banker.
And the problem is, because people are worried about their future, they’re worried the government won’t act, credit is frozen. People aren’t lending money from bank to bank or they’re not lending money to our medium- and small-sized businesses.
And that means people’s jobs are in jeopardy. And the bill that’s before the House of Representatives tomorrow is a bill that has got the best chance of providing liquidity, providing credit, providing money so small businesses and medium-sized businesses can function.
A lot of people are watching the House of Representatives now to determine whether or not they will be able to act positively on a bill that has been improved. People say, what do you mean by that? Well, the insurance for the FDIC goes up to $250,000. That’s an improvement to the legislation — not only for banks but for credit unions, as well.
And so I’m talking to people who are, you know, who come from the heartland, that understand what’s taking place in our economy today; people who understand that the House of Representatives needs to pass this piece of legislation.
And I want to thank you all for going up and telling these members of Congress what’s on your mind and how this affects your businesses at home, and how it affects the communities in which you live. This thing — this issue has gone way beyond New York and Wall Street. This is an issue that’s affecting hardworking people. They’re worried about their savings, they’re worried about their jobs, they’re worried about their houses, they’re worried about their small businesses. And the House of Representatives must listen to these voices and get this bill passed so we can get about the business of restoring confidence.
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