House panel clears 8 bills, eyes larger package for Senate

House panel clears 8 bills, eyes larger package for Senate
© Greg Nash

The House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday advanced eight bipartisan bills meant to help small and newly created companies access capital — measures that could form part of a larger package heading to the Senate.

Lawmakers unanimously approved bills intended to expand access to capital markets for burgeoning companies, streamline securities regulations and create stronger anti-fraud protections for consumers.

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The Financial Services panel is attempting to secure a Senate floor vote on a package of bills from their committee designed to spur more initial public offerings by U.S. companies and boost access to investors for smaller firms.

Rep. Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingOn The Money: US files complaints at WTO | House leaders get deal to boost biz investment | Mnuchin says US will consider Iran sanctions waivers | FCC deals blow to Sinclair-Tribune merger House leaders strike bipartisan deal to boost business investment Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus MORE (R-Texas), the committee’s chairman, touted the effort as a way to gain an upper hand in rising corporate competition and economic tensions with China.

“Part of the solution to dealing with China is to make it easier for more companies to go public in the United States of America,” Hensarling said Wednesday. “We’re attempting, on this committee and in this House, to put together a strong bipartisan package.”

Senate leaders told Hensarling in May that the chamber would vote on a group of bipartisan bills from his panel if he supported the rollback of the Senate’s bipartisan Dodd-Frank Act. Hensarling agreed and the measure was signed by Trump later that month.

Hensarling, who will retire after this year, has passed dozens of capital markets-focused bills out of the committee since 2017, many of which cleared the House with broad bipartisan support. The House passed Tuesday evening eight more bills from Hensarling’s panel.

The chairman is now negotiating with the Senate over a package of such measures meant to form what he’s called “JOBS Act. 3.0,” a nod to the 2012 bill meant to spur business investment after the financial crisis.

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOn The Money: US files complaints at WTO | House leaders get deal to boost biz investment | Mnuchin says US will consider Iran sanctions waivers | FCC deals blow to Sinclair-Tribune merger House Judiciary Dem says it's premature to talk about Trump impeachment House leaders strike bipartisan deal to boost business investment MORE (Calif.), the panel’s ranking Democrat, thanked Hensarling for taking up bills offered by her party and said she’s “committed to supporting legislation to make sure this economic growth extends to everyone, including small businesses.”

“We all support small businesses and we’re very much focused on their access to capital and reduction of overburdensome regulations,” Waters said. “This is true bipartisanship that we’re witnessing today.”

Five of the eight bills the panel advanced Wednesday were introduced by Democrats, including a measure from Waters meant to prevent executives from manipulating windows in which they could legally sell their company’s stock.

Other Democratic bills approved Tuesday would create a department at the Securities and Exchange Commission dedicated to protecting seniors from fraud and would write new disclosures for companies with multi-class share structures.

The panel also cleared three Republican-led bills that would allow tax-deferred investments in emerging growth companies, clarify what types of businesses could be considered financial market instruments, and increase the amount of shares in a company a mutual fund can hold.