House Overwhelmingly Passes Bipartisan Bill To Help Small Firms

Source: Ed O’Keefe / The Washington Post

The House approved a measure Thursday designed to make it easier for small businesses to launch initial public offerings, solicit new investors and eventually hire workers.

The JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) passed 390 to 23, with bipartisan support, which House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said should compel the Senate to consider the bill “in an expeditious fashion.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday he would introduce similar legislation next week and “move as quickly as we can” to pass it, but said a highway bill current under consideration in the Senate would create more jobs faster than the House proposal.

The House bills passed Thursday would make it easier for small businesses to go public by lifting SEC restrictions on running advertisements soliciting new investors and permit “crowdfunding” so that entrepreneurs can raise equity capital from larger pools of small investors. Small private companies also would be able to sell up to $50 million in shares as part of a public offering before having to register with the SEC, and could have as many as 1,000 shareholders, up from the current cap of 500.

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