House Backs Aid to Small Businesses
New York Times
March 8, 2012
The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation to ease small businesses’ access to investments and capital markets, a sign that the shadow of the November election is pressing Congress into action.
The 390-to-23 vote on the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act is likely to propel the legislation forward. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said a Senate version was likely to be unveiled early next week, and aides said it would likely reflect the House bill.
The House action came on the day Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio said the House would likely set aside its differences to draft its own transportation and infrastructure bill and take up a bipartisan Senate version once it has passed – probably early next week...
Big fights still lie ahead, especially over the budget and spending. But the actions of the week produced a rare moment of comity between House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House...
The jobs legislation is narrowly tailored, even though it is being promoted by all sides as a major boost to the economy. The centerpiece, drafted by two freshman representatives, delays some Securities and Exchange Commission regulations and creates a category of “emerging growth companies” to lower the costs of initial public offerings for smaller firms. Another measure removes an S.E.C. prohibition on small companies using advertisements to solicit investors, a ban that dates to 1982. One measure lifts restrictions on “crowd funding” so entrepreneurs can raise capital from large pools of small investors. Still another increases the number of shareholders permitted to invest in a community bank to 2,000 from 500.
The 23 members who voted no largely came from the most liberal wing of the Democratic Party, and they expressed concern that the bill went too far in dismantling regulations intended to protect investors.
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