US Congress passes jobs bill, sends it to Obama

03-27-2012, 21h58
WASHINGTON (AFP)

The US House of Representatives passed a broadly supported, Senate-approved jobs bill Tuesday, with the White House and Republican leaders alike hailing it as an example of rare but vital bipartisan cooperation.

With both chambers of Congress approving the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which helps small firms raise capital, the non-controversial legislation now goes to the Oval Office for President Barack Obama's signature.

"We are pleased Congress took bipartisan action to pass key initiatives the president proposed last fall to help small businesses and start-ups grow and create jobs," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in a statement.

"A significant amount of job creation comes from young firms and startup businesses, and these proposals will help them access capital, go public and become more competitive," she added.

"We applaud Republicans and Democrats for working together, but there is still much more work to be done to create jobs and strengthen the (US economic) recovery."

The Silicon Valley-backed bill, a collection of six measures which sailed through the House 380-41 after bouncing between the House and Senate in recent weeks, was amended to include extra investor protections in crowdfunding, the increasingly common practice of using the Internet to gather capital investment.

Republican Spencer Bachus, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, called the bill "a victory for small companies and entrepreneurs who want Washington to reduce the red tape that stifles innovation, economic growth and job creation."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the JOBS Act "represents an increasingly rare legislative victory in Washington where both sides seized the opportunity to work together, improved the bill and passed it with strong bipartisan support."

With unemployment and the sluggish recovery key issues in his reelection bid, Obama earlier this year pushed for measures to aid small businesses and start-up companies that create most of the new jobs in the US economy.

Republicans hail the election-year bill as a job-creator, but some Democrats have said it is only a minor fix for the ailing US economy, and that it could leave consumers and investors exposed to fraud because it does not provide enough financial oversight.

A provision of the JOBS Act would allow small enterprises to more easily go public if they wish, by stripping out certain accounting restrictions for newly public companies.

Such "emerging growth companies" would enjoy relaxed rules under the Securities and Exchange Commission, and while this part of the bill can be seen as a reduction of transparency, it will make running a newly public company less expensive.


AFP