President Obama / Evan Vucci, AP
President Obama told global business leaders Thursday that his government will help them invest in the United States.
"When you bet on America, that bet pays off," Obama said at a SelectUSA Investment Summit. "We want to be your partners."
Obama said he is expanding SelectUSA, a Commerce Department program designed to attract more foreign investment.
It is "the first-ever, fully coordinated U.S. government effort to recruit businesses to invest and create new jobs in the United States," Obama said.
One goal is national coordination of efforts that have been left largely to states and cities.
U.S. regulations can sometimes be "hard to navigate" for international companies, Obama told the group of business leaders, and "we can help you do that."
Ultimately, foreign investment translates into more "good middle-class jobs for America," and that is "my number one priority," Obama said.
Obama also chided Congress and said it can do more to create a healthier business climate; he cited the recent dispute over raising the debt ceiling.
"The notion of not paying our bills on time doesn't inspire confidence," Obama said.
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