March 21, 2012
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor regarding amendments to the Senate’s small business capital bill. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
There is broad, bipartisan, bicameral support for the legislation the Senate is considering today – the IPO bill.
This bill passed the House on an overwhelming, bipartisan vote. President Obama supports it. And both Democrats and Republicans in this Chamber are eager to pass it.
It is a good piece of legislation that will improve innovators’ access to capital and give startups the flexibility they need to hire and grow.
But it isn’t a perfect bill. As with any other piece of legislation, there are ways we could strengthen and improve it.
To that end, the Senate will consider two germane amendments to the IPO bill that will protect investors and prevent fraud.
The first amendment – sponsored by the Senator from Oregon, Senator Merkley and others – deals with companies that raise capital online from small investors.
This bipartisan amendment will ensure watchdogs are in place to protect those small investors and their money from fraudulent companies and abuse of the system.
The second amendment – sponsored by Senator Reed of Rhode Island – will ensure fair and honest disclosure by companies raising capital.
It will stop businesses from gaming the system and avoiding oversight by hiding thousands – or tens of thousands – of investors.
Democrats and Republicans agree we need to pass the IPO bill and make it easier for American companies to raise capital, grow their operations and hire new workers.
But we must do so in a way that balances the needs and rights of investors, and prevents fraud and abuse.
These two amendments will go toward accomplish that. They won’t make the bill perfect, but they’ll make it better.
There is no reason Republicans should not join with Democrats to pass this strengthened bill, and send it back to the House as quickly as possible. I hope they will do so.
While the IPO measure before the Senate today is an important piece of legislation, experts agree its impact on job creation will be limited.
The legislation Senate Republicans blocked yesterday, on the other hand, supported 300,000 jobs last year.
My friend, the Republican Leader, has been talking non-stop about how important it is for Congress to continue to create jobs.
So I am disappointed that yesterday Senate Republicans – led by Senator McConnell – rejected this opportunity to help American exporters grow and hire.
The Ex-Im Bank helps American exporters compete in a global economy, and has always enjoyed broad, bipartisan support – until yesterday.
It is backed by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Round Table and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
It will reduce the deficit by $1 billion.
It has Republican cosponsors. And in years past it has passed the Senate by unanimous consent.
In fact, my Republican colleagues – including many who voted against this amendment yesterday – admit they support this Export-Import Bank proposal.
The Republican Leader urged his caucus to vote down this worthy proposal - supposedly because he wants to pass it separately.
But that offer is hollow. Republicans want to appear to support the Ex-Im Bank.
But Democrats actually do support the Ex-Im Bank. We want it to become law.
House Republicans have shown no desire to even consider this important jobs measure – let alone pass it.
The only way to ensure the Ex-Im Bank can continue to help American companies grow and create jobs is for the Senate to attach it to the IPO bill.
Yesterday, Senate Republicans had an opportunity to join with Democrats to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in this country. They passed up that opportunity.
Once again, they chose to pick an unnecessary fight instead.
Democrats’ number one priority is to create jobs. I hope Senate Republicans get their own priorities straight, and decide to join us.