In a rare act of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, the House has overwhelmingly passed the JOBS Act, 390-23, a package of six bills dedicated to helping small businesses get access to capital and create jobs. The package had been spearheaded by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and had the blessing of the White House's Office of Management and Budget.
The package of bills works to cut through some of the bureaucratic red tape involved in small business start-ups, such as allowing smaller companies to go public sooner, and getting rid of regulations that involve raising business capital. Of the six bills in the package, four had already passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in the House, but had yet to be brought up for a vote in the Senate.
The JOBS Act now goes to the Senate where it’s fate as a stand-alone bill is unclear. Senate Democrats indicated today that they intend to introduce their own version of the package next week, likely in an effort to take away steam from what, from an optics standpoint, looks like a Republican legislative win.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took issue with the bill today, and while she supported the measure, she called the bill “meager” and “jobs bill lite”. House Democrats had also hit Republicans for branding the bill the “JOBS Act,” with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) claiming the package was “not a jobs bill.”
"Just because you regurgitate a few bills and package them together, even though we've already passed them out doesn't mean you have a jobs agenda,” House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Xavier Becerra told reporters earlier this week.
But Cantor was undeterred by the criticism of the package after its passage today, and in a rare showing of agreement with President Obama, called on the Senate to pass the bill “with dispatch”.
“The President has endorsed this JOBS Act," Cantor said, "and if we want to act with dispatch so that small businesses and start-ups can get going again, it seems to me the simplest way forward is to listen to the president on this one."