Obama taking more steps on own to help businesses

WASHINGTON (AP) - October 28, 2011

The moves cap a week in which Obama has sought to employ the power of his office as he struggles to make headway on his jobs bill on Capitol Hill.

Obama is directing government agencies to shorten the time it takes for federal research to turn into commercial products in the marketplace. The goal is to help startup companies and small businesses create jobs and expand their operations more quickly.

On the other front, Obama is calling for creation of a centralized online site, to be known as BusinessUSA, for companies to easily find information on federal services. The site is to be up and running within 90 days and will be designed with input from U.S. businesses.

Obama is announcing both steps in presidential memos to be released Friday morning, according to administration officials.

On a larger scale, the president himself announced two other executive actions this week, one offering help for homeowners seeking to refinance at lower mortgage rates and the other allowing college students to simplify and lower their student loan payments. The White House also issued a challenge to community health centers in a bid to help get veterans jobs.

White House aides expect more such actions in coming days. Obama, up for re-election, is waging a public campaign to show voters he is acting on jobs more than Republicans are.

The Republicans who control the House counter that their economic bills have not been considered in the Senate. And they question Obama's latest tactic.

"This idea that you're just going to go around the Congress is just, it's almost laughable," House Speaker John Boehner told radio talk show host Laura Ingraham on Thursday.

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