When President Barack Obama met with small business owners at the White House on Tuesday, he tried to reassure them that he’ll reach a deal with Republicans in Congress to keep tax cuts for the middle class from expiring Jan. 1. The 15 business owners who spent more than an hour with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and top economic aides walked out of the Roosevelt Room convinced, according to interviews with four of them. The White House has 34 days to convince everyone else.
“As a small business owner, we need to see more certainty in where we’re going so we can plan,” says David Ickert, chief financial officer of Air Tractor, a 280-employee manufacturer of crop-duster and forest fire-fighting planes in Olney, Tex., who was in the meeting. “We really won’t get that feeling until we see some concrete results, bills that are passed by Congress and signed by the president.”