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Public Statements

Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 3 minutes.

Mr. Chairman, it is clear that jobs and the economy are issue number one for our constituents. Many of them don't see the recovery. Even though professional economists may see it, it is clearly the slowest and weakest recovery in the postwar era. We still have now 3 full years of 8-plus percent unemployment, half of our population now being classified as either low income or in poverty. Again, our constituents are demanding jobs.

Public policy makes a difference. Republicans have many disagreements with our President over public policy. We disagree with the $11 trillion of additional debt that he has put into his budget. We disagree with the $1.9 trillion in new job-killing tax increases he wants to impose, much of it on small businesses. We disagree--we believe the Keystone pipeline, with its 20,000 shovel-ready jobs, should be approved. We believe these policies harm job growth and the economy.

But, Mr. Chairman, we have a rare occasion today, and that is there is something that we do agree on. We have found an opportunity to work on a bipartisan basis, on common ground, with the President of the United States. The President said:

It is time to cut away the redtape that prevents too many rapidly growing start-up companies from raising capital and going public.

House Republicans agree, and thus we are happy to bring to the floor, on a bipartisan basis, the JOBS Act.

The President has issued his Statement of Administration Policy endorsing this legislation. Again, a rare occurrence, and I believe it's something that our constituents would like to see us do. They want to see us stand on principle, but they also want to see us compromise on policies to advance those principles. And so this is a bill that will give these emerging growth companies--again, perhaps the future Googles, perhaps the future Apples, the future Home Depots and the future Starbucks--that opportunity to begin to access equity capital where the hurdles, the redtape, and the cost burdens have been too high.

We know that, of many of the root causes of the economic debacle we had, clearly this was an economy that was overleveraged. So we in the Congress need to do whatever we can to enable the start-up companies, the job engines of America, to be able to access the equity markets, not just the debt markets. So this is a bill most of which has been previously approved by large majorities either in the Financial Services Committee or on the floor.

I want to thank the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Fincher) for his leadership, Chairman Bachus, Leader Cantor, and the ranking member, Mr. Frank from Massachusetts. The American people want to see jobs, hope, and opportunity. So let's pass the JOBS Act, and let's pass it now.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. HENSARLING. I yield myself 10 seconds just to say that President Reagan once said there's no limit to what the American people can achieve if they don't mind who gets the credit. We seem to hear the ranking member say, if I and my friends can't take credit, we're going to pick up our toys and go home. All of us can take credit if we will support the JOBS Act.

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Mr. HENSARLING. I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Madam Chair, again, jobs and growing the economy is what our constituents care about. Again, we are unfortunately and regrettably in the midst of the slowest and weakest recovery in the postwar era. And, in fact, many of my constituents, they don't feel the recovery. They don't see it. They still know many of their friends, neighbors, and family members remain unemployed. That's why the number one priority of House Republicans has been to grow this economy and create more jobs. That is why House Republicans have a plan for America's job creators.

Now, Madam Chair, it's very difficult, very difficult, to find common ground in this institution, as we all know. Regrettably, the vast majority of these bills are stacked up like cordwood in the United States Senate. They won't take them up. We've tried many of the President's ideas. For 2 years we tried every single one of his ideas. We tried the stimulus program, which helped stimulate the national debt to the level it is today. We tried the President's health care plan that we were told would help grow jobs and the economy. Dodd-Frank, our financial institutions--the big get bigger, the small get smaller, and the taxpayer gets poorer.

We disagreed with those policies, and so we have tried to find common ground. We heard the distinguished minority whip lament that the bill didn't do more. This is the common ground we can find with our friends on the other side of the aisle. It's important. It's not as important as repealing the President's health care program, which is absolutely strangling our small businesses. It's not as important as turning back so much of the red tape that impacts every single small business in America by enacting the REINS Act to ensure that Congress, not the unelected bureaucracy, controls whether or not we impose job-killing regulations on our small business enterprises. But it's still an important bill nonetheless. It's a bill that will allow these emerging growth companies, again, perhaps the Googles of tomorrow and the Apples of tomorrow, to be able to access vital equity capital. And so it's an important piece of legislation. I wish it did more.

I wish my friends from the other side of the aisle would acknowledge that we have tried many of their partisan ideas, and they haven't worked. But here's at least a bipartisan idea where we have worked with the President. We have his support right here--right here--Madam Chair, where the President of the United States supports this legislation. So I'm happy that at least one portion of the House Republican plan for America's job creators stands a very good chance of being turned into law and that the American people will see that we continue to work to find that common ground.

So I'm happy, again, to be able to encourage my colleagues to support this today. I look forward to the day that the President can sign this into law.

At this time, Madam Chair, I would like to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. McHenry).

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HENSARLING. I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, again, the people of America care about jobs, they care about economic growth. Although we've had some recent improvement in our monthly unemployment figures, when we add in those who are working part-time who would prefer to be working full-time, and when we add in those who, frankly, have just given up and left the labor force, we know that the true unemployment rate in America is closer to 15.3 percent.

We know that the job engine of America is small business. And every big business had to start out as a small business.

I respect the gentleman's contribution to the bill. And this is about line drawing. I understand that. I respect his opinion. I know the professional background from which he has come. But I feel like his amendment would take this bill in the complete opposite direction of where we need to take this policy for emerging growth companies.

He used the example of Spirit Airlines. I don't have the figure at my fingertips, but I believe their market cap was in excess of what is provided for in the underlying bill, so I believe, again, they would not have qualified for the exemption in the first place.

But we want to provide this on-ramp for emerging growth companies, so, again, we can find tomorrow's Google, we can find tomorrow's Apple. And yes, this is drawing some lines in the sand, but it's clearly not a line that seems to be of great concern to the President.

We all know that the White House issues the Statement of Administration Policy, and when they have concerns about provisions in a piece of legislation, they have never been shy or reticent to share that with us. As I read the Statement of Administration Policy, the President doesn't seem to have a problem with where that line has been drawn.

I would also point out that the companion legislation on the Senate side, S. 1933, introduced by Senator Schumer of New York, Democrat, also has a gross revenue test of $1 billion. And so it appears that the President supports this. Senator Schumer supports this. This is bipartisan support for this $1 billion figure. I think at this particular time in our Nation's history the American people demand we err on the side of creating jobs and economic growth.

So, again, I respect the gentleman for his amendment, but I would urge that it be rejected.

I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Chairman, again, when we add in those who want full-time work and yet have part-time work, those who have given up and have left the labor force, those who have been unemployed for weeks and months on end, we know that the true unemployment rate in America is, regrettably, close to 15.3 percent.

Jobs is the number one concern, jobs and the economic growth of the American people, and it has to be our number one concern as well. And as ever well-intentioned as the gentleman from Minnesota's amendment is, it is not one particular regulatory burden; it is the cumulative impact of them all that is inhibiting job growth in America today.

Anytime I talk to small business people in the Fifth District of Texas, which I have the honor and privilege of representing, and whether I'm talking to small business people or, frankly, to Fortune 50 CEOs, this is what they tell me: it is the government red tape. Now, it doesn't mean all regulation is bad, but we have to look at the cumulative impact, particularly in the midst of what our constituents view as a crisis.

John Mackey, cofounder and CEO of Whole Foods Market:

In some cases, regulations have gone too far, and it really makes it difficult for small businesses. There's too much bureaucracy and red tape. Taxes on businesses are very high. So we're not creating the enabling conditions that allow businesses to get started.

Again, on a bipartisan piece of legislation that is supported by the President of the United States, most of the provisions have been overwhelmingly supported either on the House floor or in the Financial Services Committee. Regrettably, the gentleman from Minnesota's amendment takes a huge step backwards and makes it more difficult for these emerging growth companies to get started.

Now, I understand his particular concern on Say on Pay, but I would note that emerging growth companies still have to disclose their executive compensation arrangements to shareholders in their SEC filings in the same way that the SEC requires for smaller reporting companies. How many votes do you want to compel shareholders to take, particularly on emerging growth companies?

We could require votes on patent filings. We could require votes on the retention of the accounting firm. Maybe we could require it on the acquisition of real estate. Perhaps shareholders should be compelled to vote to ratify any particular union contract. Maybe we should compel a vote on the IT system. We could go to the ridiculous. Maybe we have to have shareholder votes to choose between Coke and Pepsi in the break room, or as to whether or not the coffee is organically grown or not organically grown. What is the company logo?

At some point, it begs the question: Are we here to stand up for shareholder value or for somebody's subjective, personal values, which I respect, but which, again, can harm emerging growth companies as they're trying to grow jobs and the economy.

I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Chairman, we've had a vigorous debate over some amendments that were accepted, others that we thought were unwise. Frankly, this one, Mr. Chairman, we believe would simply gut the entire bill. You know, Mr. Chairman, you cannot sue your way into job growth. You are not going to be able to sue your way into economic growth.

This amendment takes us a huge, huge step in the opposite direction. The practical impact of the amendment from the gentlelady from California is to essentially squash any of the reporting that would take place on these emerging growth companies for imposing the prospectus level of liability imputed to the communications of the research reports.

I mean, in order to get onto this IPO on-ramp in order for the small growth companies to access our equity market, there has to be the research which is published. Without it, without it, the accredited investors will probably never know of the existence of the companies in the first place. I would point out that many of the concerns should have already been addressed.

Number one, all these emerging growth companies are still liable for the Global Research Analyst Settlement of 2003, which established a comprehensive set of rules that sever the link between investment banking and research activities, section 501 of Sarbanes-Oxley, which requires the research analysts and broker-dealers to disclose all potential conflicts of interest, Regulation AC, stock exchange-listing standards, FINRA codes of conduct, and the list goes on and on and on.

And so again, Mr. Chairman, to add yet another level of liability, one that we are told would simply have an incredibly dampening impact on the existence of these research reports, for all intents and purposes this would simply gut the bill. I suppose it would be an early evening in the House if we accepted it, but everything that Members of both sides of the aisle have worked for would be for naught.

Again, if this was a concern of the administration, why wasn't it listed in their Statement of Administration Policy where they always list their concern?

The President would like to see this passed. We would like to see it passed. There is bipartisan support in the Senate.

I would urge a strong rejection of this amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HENSARLING. I yield myself the balance of the time.

I would just say to my friend, the gentlelady from Texas will have to settle for batting .500, as I supported her earlier amendment, but I have to rise in opposition to this one. The very purpose of an accredited investor is to identify the class of individuals who have greater capacity to handle risk, do not require the enhanced protections. Her amendment would unnecessarily restrict capital formation and consequently job growth. I urge its rejection, and I yield back the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Chairman, I have some good news for the gentleman from Virginia. The very issue that he cares to study has already been studied. In January of 2011, Democrat CFTC Commissioner Michael Dunn said:

To date, CFTC staff has been unable to find any reliable economic analysis to support either the contention that excessive speculation is affecting the markets we regulate or that position limits will prevent excessive speculation. With such a lack of concrete economic evidence, my fear is that, at best, position limits are a cure for a disease that does not exist or at worst a placebo for one that does.

A similar study has been conducted by the Federal Trade Commission.

Mr. Chairman, if we're going to be in the business of conducting studies, perhaps we should study why this administration has had over 3 years to study the Keystone pipeline and still refuses to allow more energy to come to America for Americans. Now, apparently, in a reversal, the President has decided that if the energy can hitchhike from Canada successfully to the Red River, the northern border of Texas, he'll allow it to get to the refineries on the gulf coast. Otherwise, no energy.

Shouldn't, on the road to American energy independence, we ought to at least go through the road of North American energy independence. These are 20,000 shovel-ready jobs--and I know the administration gets confused at what is a shovel-ready job--but 20,000 shovel ready jobs, and yet it's rejected by this administration. Why? Well, because this is an administration that has essentially declared war on carbon-based industry, thus is trying to increase prices of energy for small businesses, for struggling American families, for hardworking taxpayers. Please don't take my word for it; take the word of the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu: ``Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe.''

Well, again, I've got good news for the administration: they're doing a wonderful job. They have us on the road to increasing energy levels to the price of Europe, and the consequent unemployment that goes with it, and the consequence of having the fewest business start-ups in almost two complete decades. So, the matter that the gentleman cares to study has already been studied. It has already been studied.

I also recall a time when these people were called investors, and we actually welcomed them into the market. I suspect that it is fear of this administration's energy policies that is causing these prices to skyrocket even further. As bad as they are today, people know they're going to be even worse.

So I would urge a rejection of this amendment that takes this bill in the complete opposite direction that it needs to be going.

I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Regrettably, the ranking member is not here because he chose to violate House rules, and his speaking privileges were denied for the rest of the day. But during our committee markup, he said:

First of all, studies are not done for free by the SEC. Given the current decision to restrict SEC funding, I will be much more careful about burdening them with studies which will inevitably come at the expense of more important duties.

One more reason to oppose the gentleman's amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

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