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> , AT&T <T.N>, Coca Cola
<COKE.O> and Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N> 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
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
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
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.
The White House says that arrangement affected 172,000 small
businesses and generated over $1 billion for them to invest and hire
workers since it was launched three years ago. The president was due
to renew that program on Friday as well as announcing the public
Other firms attending the White House event include CVS <CVS.N>,
FedEx <FDX.N>, IBM <IBM.N>, Lockheed Martin <LMT.N>, and Walgreens
Honda <7267.T>, Toyota <7203.T>, Rolls Royce <RR.L>, Ericsson
<ERICb.ST>, and Westinghouse <6502.T> are also among the corporate
participants in the White House event.
(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Ken Wills)