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Obama tells Cabinet promoting small businesses is 'top' priority

"One of the top priorities that I mentioned during the State of the Union was the need for us to promote small business. And I’m very pleased that we’ve got Karen Mills here, who has participated in our meetings before, but is now an official member of the Cabinet," Obama said.

This was the first meeting that Mills, the head of the Small Business Administration, has attended since being recently elevated to a Cabinet-level position.

"It is a symbol of how important it is for us to spur entrepreneurship, to help start-ups, to move aggressively," added Obama.

The president pressed Congress on both sides of the aisle to present a bill on his initiative to accelerate financing for start-ups and provide tax breaks for small businesses that want to hire more workers or increase wages.

"My expectation and hope is, is that they will get a bill together quickly, that they will pass it and get it on my desk. I will sign it right away, and I would like to see that bill signed this year," he said.