Senate To Introduce Bill To Help Small Businesses

Senate small business legislationBy Jim Abrams


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate is set to come out with its version of legislation to help small businesses raise capital, paralleling a measure that cleared the House in a somewhat different form last week by a large bipartisan margin.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday he planned to work with his Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, "to finalize a path forward" on the legislation, which primarily relaxes Securities and Exchange Commission regulations to make it easier for small businesses and startups to attract investors.

Both Republicans and Democrats are eager to show that Congress is capable of coming together on legislation to boost the economy and promote job growth, and President Barack Obama supported the House bill which passed on a 390-23 vote.

It remained to be seen whether Senate changes to the House version, expected to be introduced as early as Tuesday, would bog down the legislation in partisan battles. The main difference is that the Senate bill would also give new legislative authority to the Export-Import Bank, an independent agency that assists U.S. companies trying to sell abroad with financing. Inclusion of the Ex-Im Bank could be a sticking point for some conservatives.

No date has been set for the package to reach the Senate floor for debate.

The House packages six bills that eases the way for small businesses to raise money and go public without being burdened by costly SEC regulations. The Senate version takes up three of those bills, in slightly different forms.

One would create a new emerging growth companies classification that phases in certain SEC regulations over a five-year period, reducing the costs of going public. Companies could retain this status for five years or until they exceed $1 billion in annual gross revenue. The Senate bill is sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa.

The second bill, sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., raises from $5 million to $50 million the ceiling for shares a private company can sell as part of a public offering before having to register with the SEC. The $5 million threshold was set in 1992 and small businesses say it is too low to make going public worthwhile.

The third, introduced by Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley, removes SEC restrictions on "crowdfunding," the raising of capital from a larger pool of small-scale investors who are not necessarily classified as "accredited" by the SEC.

The Senate bills are expected to include provisions that provide additional investor protections.

Obama last month called on Congress to extend the Ex-Im Bank's authorization, saying it was crucial to promoting U.S. exports. The White House has pointed out that the bank will reach its $100 billion lending limit at the end of March.

But the Club for Growth, a group that holds considerable sway with conservatives, has urged lawmakers to vote against reauthorizing the agency, and said that the vote will go on its annual scorecard of lawmaker voting records.

"The Export-Import Bank's actions are nothing more than market-distorting subsidies that pick winners and losers in the private sector," the group said.

Toomey, speaking to reporters last week, urged Reid to take up the House bill, saying that's the best way to get legislation to the president quickly. "I can't think of a reason why this isn't a terrific vehicle" to begin the Senate debate, he said of the House bill.

The Senate package also contains several other bills related to small businesses, including one raising the lending cap for the Small Business Administration's Small Business Investment Company.



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lodgebrook

These are the SAME Sons of Bitches that will be running health care into the ground like THEY did to Social Security, Medicade and every other half assed scheme that's gone bust!
AND
When the unelected idiots who sit on the "Health Care Determination Commissions" decide your just too old for additional medical attention and can have a perscription to end it all . . . if your children or next of kin so desire . . . harken back to this post! I told you so!

March 13 2012 at 11:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lodgebrook

Lets see now, all the same Dingbats are running the Fed., Treasury, Banks and Wall St. requirements for a refinance is not dependent upon Credit Report numbers . . . effectively making TODAY a repeat of the "NO DOC, LOW DOC" insanity of yesterdays world wide financial disaster! Isn't it criminal to advertise the ability to cut a deal with IRS on money owed?

March 13 2012 at 11:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Peter

Good GOD, no! Relaxing the regulations on investment is how we got precipitated into this crisis. It's not small business that will take advantage of this laxity, but those with the legal staffs to nuance their way out of just oversight of their financial practices. This is a giveaway to those who already have money to get more from the innocent. It's not going to help, it's going to hurt us.

March 13 2012 at 10:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Linda

Evidently the senate does not understand SMALL business....It would take me 20 years to make a million, and hello..............our small business is barely making it.......Just like the rich do not understand the meaning of POOR or MIDDLE CLASS.......start making bills for the businesses out there that are actually SMALL.....I mean 2 to 10 employees, not 100 to 1000 employees........SMH

March 13 2012 at 9:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jrh455

Of course Dingy Harry's coming up with this now. Where's he been for 3 years.

March 13 2012 at 7:39 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jrh455's comment
dsb1252

Listening to the Boner and teabags saying NO

March 13 2012 at 7:57 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Stephen

It's an Election year and the Democrats are worried more about losing control of the Congress than helping small businesses. why do you think it took this long for the Dems in the Senate to realize helping small Businesses would help the Economy.

March 13 2012 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pfayles

If the government is going to help you, you had better watch out.

March 13 2012 at 5:21 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
John

Right, every time the government says they have something to help small business nothing ever comes of it. Where are those billions Obama promised us small business owners?

March 13 2012 at 5:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

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