Obama, corporate giants announce plan to boost suppliers

Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:27pm EDT
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By Mark Felsenthal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is enlisting several major U.S. and multinational companies to draw attention to an initiative aimed at helping small businesses expand and hire workers.

The president will meet on Friday with representatives of household name firms such as Apple (AAPL.O: Quote) , AT&T (T.N: Quote), Coca Cola (COKE.O: Quote) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N: Quote) to spotlight the corporate giants' pledge to pay their smaller suppliers within 15 days.

The speedy payout puts more money in the coffers of smaller firms and helps them invest and hire workers, the president and his aides say.

For the larger companies, the initiative ensures that their own suppliers are robust and "demonstrates a recognition that a healthy supply chain is good for business," the White House said in a statement.

Frustrated by a legislative stalemate with the Republican-led House of Representatives, Obama has vowed to act unilaterally when he can to achieve his agenda, and the announcement Friday is typical of the sorts of modest initiatives the White House has unveiled.

This approach has antagonized congressional Republicans who say the president has overstepped executive branch authority.

House Republicans on Thursday made public a "discussion draft" of legislation to authorize legal action against the president for misusing executive orders and other unilateral actions to advance his agenda.

The supplier initiative is based on a similar program for government contractors. The federal government promises to pay contractors quickly if those companies in turn commit to rapidly pay the smaller firms that supply them.   Continued...

U.S. President Barack Obama holds a meeting with company executives and their small business suppliers to discuss ways to strengthen the economy at the White House in Washington July 11, 2014. Flanking Obama are National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients (L) and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett. 
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque