UPDATE 1-Obama urges boosting clean energy tax credit

(Refreshes throughout)

By Alister Bull

LAS VEGAS, July 9 (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama urged
the U.S. Congress on Friday to pass a $5 billion expansion of
tax credits for clean energy manufacturing that he said would
generate tens of thousands of new jobs.

With anxiety over high unemployment threatening Obama’s
Democrats in November congressional elections, he used a
campaign swing for key political candidates to defend his
economic agenda and promote job-boosting measures.

Obama, accused by Republicans and some business leaders of
a government overreach, also sought to strike a
business-friendly tone and insisted his policies were aimed at
unleashing the private sector as a catalyst for job growth.

“The private sector — not government — is, was, and
always will be the source of America’s economic success,” he
told a university audience in Nevada, a state struggling to
overcome effects of a deep national recession.

While campaigning for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,
who is in a tough fight for re-election in Nevada, Obama called
on Congress to extend a tax credit program to foster private
investment in clean energy manufacturing.

He estimated that a the $5 billion expansion would generate
nearly 40,000 jobs, and the $12 billion or more in private
sector investment it is expected to trigger could create up to
90,000 more jobs.

A now-depleted $2.3 billion in clean energy tax credits was
part of a $787 billion economic stimulus Obama signed last year
to help lift the economy out of the worst recession in a
generation. Many independent economists credit the package with
helping to stave off a worse crisis.

But he is facing growing anxiety over government spending
amid record U.S. deficits and Republican complaints that the
country cannot afford any more stimulus spending.

Obama counters that withdrawing support too soon could hurt
the fragile recovery.

“Our economy is growing, instead of shrinking. We have
gained private sector jobs for each of the past six months,
instead of losing them. Almost 600,000 new jobs,” Obama said at
the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

He acknowledged that was not nearly enough but said it
would take more time to dig the economy out of its hole that
includes a 9.5 percent unemployment rate that has lingered
despite signs of a broader recovery.

Obama also is battling an image problem in parts of the
business community that complain about government meddling.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce plans to lay out its concerns
with Obama’s policies toward business at a “Jobs for America
Summit: 2010” event next Wednesday in Washington.

Chamber CEO Tom Donohue is to issue an open letter to Obama
and the U.S. Congress to urge “immediate action to address the
new regulatory stranglehold placed on America’s job creators.”
(Writing by Matt Spetalnick and Alister Bull, additional
reporting by Steve Holland, editing by Vicki Allen)

UPDATE 1-Obama urges boosting clean energy tax credit