Obama moves to speed up payments to small-business contractors

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The White House has recruited 26 of the nation's largest companies to commit to pay their small-business contractors faster, President Obama will announce Thursday.

The private-sector program, called SupplierPay, is modeled on an Obama initiative called QuickPay that requires federal agencies to expedite payments to small-business contractors within 15 days. When businesses receive payment sooner, the White House says, they're more easily able to invest in new business opportunities, equipment and hiring.

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Administration officials say that the president's program has resulted in more than $1 billion in cost savings for small businesses since it launched in 2011. They hope to replicate that success by asking companies such as Apple, Coca-Cola and AT&T to also commit to pay their contractors expeditiously.

Other companies participating in the program include Honda, Nissan, Toyota, CVS, IBM, Walgreens, Ericsson and FedEx.

Obama will also announce that he is expanding the federal QuickPay program to mandate that all federal contractors more quickly process payments to their subcontractors.

"For the larger companies, joining SupplierPay demonstrates a recognition that a healthy supply chain is good for business," the White House said in a statement. "For the small business suppliers, benefiting from SupplierPay means having more capital to invest in new opportunities, new equipment, and new hiring."

According to the White House, small-business invoices typically go unpaid for an average of two months, and the number of "past due" payments has increased in recent years. As a result, small businesses are facing a cash crunch that restricts growth.

The White House hopes the announcement will help boost perceptions the president is tackling economic issues outside of Congress.

At an event in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, Obama said he won't "stand by with partisan gridlock that's the result of cynical political games."

"Whenever and wherever I have the power, the legal of authority to help families like yours, even if Congress is not doing anything, I will take that opportunity," Obama said.