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By KATHLEEN R. KELLEY, Associated PressWhite House officials said Wednesday that they have hired more than 1,200 contractors to help renovate and restore space in the White House and the South Lawn, while adding more than $2 million in grants for businesses to help them do so.

The White House has already awarded more than 2,000 grants totaling more than a million dollars to businesses, according to the White Hill Coalition, a nonprofit that advocates for economic development in the South.

“We’re looking to do more than just do a good job of renovating, but also get businesses to be able to be productive and invest in the city of Washington and around Washington, D.C.,” said David Lapan, the White Hall Council of Advisors and an assistant administrator for economic and workforce development.

The city of Alexandria has committed $1.3 million toward the effort, and the White Center for Economic and Workforce Development has committed about $2.6 million.

The initiative is part of the administration’s effort to make Washington more attractive to foreign investors, which is an increasingly important part of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called on Congress to approve a tax increase on foreign direct investment that would help boost local economic growth.

The Chamber also is urging more local government investment in the Washington region, including the city and suburbs.

The administration also is working to create more jobs in the region, particularly at the National Mall and on the National Golf Course, which will be closed this year to make way for construction of the new Trump International Hotel and Tower.

The city is also trying to lure more business to the city, including more businesses from the Washington area and overseas, said Mayor Muriel Bowser.