The business proposal – what one aide called a key part of a limited economic package – would increase and permanently extend research and development tax credits for businesses, rewarding companies that develop new technologies domestically and preserve American jobs.

It would be paid for by closing other corporate tax loopholes, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the policy has not yet been unveiled.

This is not the first time Obama has called for making the credit permanent. But with the economic recovery moving more slowly than the administration had hoped – and Democratic candidates nationwide panicking as the issue threatens their majorities in the House and Senate on Nov. 2 – he is increasingly eager to show he understands the depth of the problem and is trying to act.