Vice President Joe Biden came to Solon today and said the best way to help struggling middle-class families find work is by aiding small businesses.
And he used the chance to make a pitch for the American Jobs Act, President Barack Obama's proposal to help increase hiring and lower the unemployment rate.
And the vice president came out swinging, pledging to fight and challenging Republicans to pas the bill.
"We are not prepared to take no for an answer," Biden said, adding that the decision on the jobs bill is about choices.
"We can either keep 280,000 teachers in their classrooms, or we can preserve tax loopholes for oil and gas companies," Biden said. "We can either keep cops and firefighters on the job, or we can keep giving corporate jet owners special tax breaks."
Biden spoke from the factory floor of Wrap-Tite Inc., a Solon-based small business that was able to move into a larger space on Cochran Road and hire five new employees because they secured a government loan to help purchase the building.
Accompanied by Small Business Administration Head Karen Miller, Biden spoke for nearly an hour on a range of topics, from the economic collapse in 2008 to stories from his childhood.
But the theme of his remarks were that the middle class is struggling. The only road out from the current rate of unemployment is to create jobs, and the "engine" of job creation is the country's small businesses.
“Small businesses like Wrap-Tite are the real engines of our economy, which is why Congress should cut their taxes and put money back in the pockets of their customers by passing the American Jobs Act right away,” he added. “The only way we’re going to turn the vicious economic cycle we’ve been in into a virtuous one is by cutting taxes on our small businesses and making sure they can get the loans they need to grow and hire more workers.”
Biden said that the economic collapse and the tightening of the credit market has made it more difficult for businesses like Wrap-Tite to secure funding for expansions and other projects. He said the Small Business Administration is in place to help businesses like this during troubled times.
"This is a company that wold have no problem getting a loan in ordinary times," he said.
Biden and Mills also announced a $20 billion lending committment to small businesses during the next three years from some of the country's major banks.
Attending the vice president's remarks were a number of Solon officials, including Mayor Susan Drucker, Superintendent Joe Regano, Human Resources Director Tom Cornhoff and Economic Development Manager Peggy Weil-Dorfman.