updated 7/27/2010 12:45:26 PM ET 2010-07-27T16:45:26

President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to pass legislation that he says will help small businesses grow and hire again.

A measure emerging in the Senate would create a new lending fund to help community banks offer loans. Obama urged lawmakers not to block the initiative and hold the public hostage to Washington politics.

The president spoke in the Rose Garden following a meeting with congressional leaders of both parties at the White House. Among those present was House Minority Leader John Boehner, who has ratcheted up his criticism of Obama in recent weeks, accusing the president of stooping to partisan attacks and saying Obama cannot sell his economic plan.

Obama has argued that Boehner and Republicans are trying to advance the same agenda that led the country into the recession.

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