- Associated Press - Friday, July 23, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama on Friday proclaimed a week of “enormous progress” in fixing economic problems and cracking down on Wall Street, prodding the Senate to do even more by passing tax credits for small businesses.

In the midst of a sleepy, steamy day in Washington, Mr. Obama went before the cameras to try to frame the state of the economy in his own terms.

He praised a trio of matters he signed into law this week — an overhaul of financial regulations, an effort to shrink wasteful government payments, and an extension of unemployment benefits for millions of jobless people — as the governing that people expect.

The president said fresh revelations of big bank bonuses underscore the need for the financial regulation bill he signed into law this week. Obama noted that the Treasury Department’s pay czar reported 17 banks gave their top executives $1.6 billion in bonuses while receiving billions of dollars in bailout money.

Mr. Obama then pivoted to pressuring Congress to send him a bill to help struggling small businesses.

A measure emerging in the Senate would create a new lending fund to help community banks offer loans, help states encourage more private-sector lending and eliminate capital gains taxes for certain investments in small businesses, among other steps.

“Taken together, we made enormous progress this week on Wall Street reform, on making sure that we’re eliminating waste and abuse in government and in providing immediate assistance to people who are out there looking for work,” Mr. Obama said in a brief statement in the Roosevelt Room.

“But ultimately our goal is to make sure that people who are looking for a job can find a job,” he said.