Durbin urges caution over deregulations included in House jobs bill

The bills supporters have characterized it as a jobs bill, but this bill is really designed to change disclosure, accounting and auditing standards and to exempt many firms and corporations from the Securities and Exchange Commission oversight, Durbin said from the Senate floor Wednesday. 

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The legislation, which passed in the House on a bipartisan 390-23 vote, has so far received a warm reception from both parties in the Senate as a welcome opportunity to put aside bitter wrangling that has so far characterized this work period and instead focus on jobs. Proponents of the bill said it would create jobs by easing the rules for capital formation for small companies.

But Durbin, who is a vocal advocate for consumer rights in the Senate, said the bill actually works by rolling back key regulations mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, allowing thousands of emerging growth companies that bring in less than $1 billion in revenue to be exempt from disclosures, of auditing and accounting standards and from regulations for the most part for five years before they go public.

It would exempt firms from safeguards that we adopted in this country after Enron, Durbin said.  

There is little justification for rolling back the Dodd-Frank provisions on executive compensation, but firms would be exempt in many respects because of this bill. It is hard to imagine that a firm with $1 billion in revenue doesnt have the resources to disclose golden parachutes in executive compensation agreements.

Durbin listed a number of other deregulations that would occur as a result of the legislation, and urged his colleagues to carefully examine it before blindly following most House Democrats in supporting it. 

We need to at least take the time to reflect on it, to offer an alternative to it and to do something which is exceedingly rare on the floor of the United States Senate — and debate, he said. How about that?

Senate leaders have indicated that the upper chamber will take up that legislation as soon as Thursday morning.