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Public Statements

Proving for Consideration of H.R. 3606 Jumpstart our Business Startups Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of this rule and obviously the underlying bill. House Resolution 572 provides a structured rule for H.R. 3606, that Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or what we also call the JOBS Act. The bill was introduced on December 8, 2011, by my friend, a bright young man who is one of the brand-new leaders of our conference, a freshman, the gentleman from Tennessee, Stephen Fincher, and was ordered reported by Chairman Bachus and the Committee on Financial Services on February 16, 2012, by a near-unanimous vote of 54 1.

Members on both sides of the aisle have had an opportunity and will have opportunities to submit perfecting ideas. Thank goodness the Rules Committee allows this sort of thing to happen now that Republicans are in charge. The structured rule before us allows for 17 amendments, Mr. Speaker: 13 from Democrats, 3 from Republicans, and one which is a bipartisan amendment, meaning that Republican and Democrat Members of this House have a chance to work together on legislation for jobs for our country.

The chairman of the Rules Committee, David Dreier, has once again allowed the House to work its will through this important legislation by allowing us to have a rule not only where Members of Congress can come and share their ideas with the Rules Committee but, once again, have them made in order so they can come down on the floor, express their ideas, work with colleagues to perfect the legislation and then to vote for the bill, because they were a part of it. Those are ideas that I think are good for this body. David Dreier, as chairman of the committee, deeply believes this is the way the floor should operate.

Today, we're going to consider a package of commonsense job-creating bills that stand out for a unique reason, and that unique reason is the President of the United States now supports what we're doing, also. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have yet to give their blessing on this bill and the package that's included. So we're just going to have to do the best we can and then hope for the best. Maybe the Senate will decide they want to take action on bills that will not only better enable our country to have jobs and job creation, but also a chance to work for the best interests of the American people.

House Republicans are on the floor again today, as we have been doing now for a year and a few months, to persistently make the case about job creation, why jobs are important to our country, why the Congress should be all about trying to work with the free enterprise system, work with Members of Congress who see the big need for jobs, not only at home, but all across this country in every single State so that we can have job creation as a major goal of what this Congress and hopefully the President would be for. Over 30 bills that we've already passed through this body over the last year and a couple months await consideration by Senate Democrats. That means that this body, just like the bills we are going to handle today, we have been on the floor for a year talking about jobs, job creation, the way we can aid and abet the free enterprise system, investors, and opportunities back home. Those bills are waiting over in the Senate, and today we're simply going to add to that.

The big difference is the President has now said, You guys have got a good idea. The day the President agrees with House Republicans and House Democrats is a great day for our country. So, the good news out of Washington today is Stephen Fincher had a good idea the President agrees with, and we're going to do something about that.

Our economy has a credit problem, too, Mr. Speaker, not just a jobs problem. Companies are unable to receive the credit they need to grow their businesses, and as banks and other traditional credit providers face stricter Federal restrictions by the Obama administration, it decreases the ability for lending to take place, and companies that need lending and cash and capital available to them are looking for innovative funding mechanisms that will provide the liquidity necessary so they can keep their businesses current, so they can expand their business, so they can meet the needs of the marketplace. This administration continues to promote policies that slow economic growth and make it more difficult for businesses and, in particular, small business, to obtain capital and have a source of funding. Republicans believe that we must create an environment that changes that, that encourages investment in small business. Small business, as we know, is really the engine of our economy and really the national job creator. The underlying bill does just that.

The JOBS Act consists of numerous pro-growth provisions, and I would like to talk about those because it's important for us to remind our colleagues that a pro-growth bill or a pro-growth environment that our free enterprise system would be involved in encourages not just the creation of capital, but also the ability of that formation of capital to make jobs in America to come about as a result of that.

This bill from Congressman Fincher creates a new category of what's called emerging growth companies that will reduce costs for small companies to go public. Great idea.

There is legislation from our majority whip, Kevin McCarthy from California, that will allow small businesses to advertise for the purpose of soliciting capital from potential investors. In other words, this was not allowed by law. Small companies that have great ideas need the opportunity to advertise in the marketplace and have people see that there are good ideas. Kevin McCarthy is right.

A bill from Congressman McHenry from North Carolina would allow what is called crowdfunding for initial public offerings under $1 million. In other words, it opens up the ability to gather more capital to come in. And Congressman McHenry is right, we need to utilize market-based solutions, and we need to make it legal.

There are two bills from Congressman Schweikert from Arizona: one that would allow more businesses to go public, gathering investment and growth, and a second bill which raises the threshold number of shareholders required from mandatory Securities and Exchange Commission registration for all companies.

And finally, there is a bill by Congressman Quayle from Arizona which increases the threshold number of shareholders permitted to invest in community banks; in other words, bringing more investors to an important part of our economy, and that is called community banks, banks that exist for the purpose of trying to make our communities, local communities, stronger and better.

The banks and small businesses of the district which I represent, the 32nd Congressional District of Texas, which is primarily Dallas, Richardson, Addison, and Irving, Texas, consistently describe to me about how they have an inability to raise capital investment, not due to a lack of willing investors, but as a result of burdensome regulations that are placed on them by the Federal Government. Oftentimes we discuss the need for the SEC limit on individual investors, and we know that it restricts their ability to raise funds through community participation in local business creation. I am proud to tell them now that, as a result of this bill today and the legislation included, help is on the way.

These important changes not only provide businesses with the necessary ability to expand, but also they provide individuals with new mechanisms to invest and grow with their own personal assets in companies that they know best.

The rules adjusted in the underlying bill have proven restrictive to economic growth, so we've got to adjust these problems in the marketplace and come up with new and creative ideas. We must push these constructive proposals without political delay. This is why Members of this body, including, I believe, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Polis), support this bill. The reason why we can work together is to make sure we push constructive ideas that are good for people back home.

Mr. Speaker, our Nation is still in crisis. We do not have enough jobs. We are in a dwindling marketplace because of the excessive number of rules and regulations that have been passed by prior Congresses. With unemployment persistently over 8 percent, we cannot continue the failed policies of government spending, rules, and regulations, and the inability to pass laws that help job creation to overcome these problems. The underlying bill will do exactly that. It will help foster not only an environment, but provide the underpinning through law that will allow the private sector to more fully participate.

The future success of our economy rests in the hands of small, private business, not the Federal Government. What we are doing today is unleashing their potential so that they can focus on the things that they do best. This is part of having a Republican majority: pro business, pro economic development for jobs, the formation of capital, and the ability for American entrepreneurship to flourish. The result is going to be an economic environment that promotes growth and generates more revenue for the Federal Government.

I am delighted not only to be on the floor once again talking about economic growth, but once again trying to act as a soundpiece for the American people who are asking the United States Congress to please understand the plight that we are in, to please help work on what will help the free enterprise system job creation.

So today as we are on the floor, we offer a hearty reminder to the American people that there are people who get what this is about. That's partially why this Republican majority has been and will continue to be successful. We will push for reform, a pro-growth environment, and the opportunity to help people back home, instead of with a handout, to give them the ability to do things on their own.

I urge my colleagues to vote for this fair rule, and I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SESSIONS. I remind the gentleman that the Republican minority leader, Mr. McConnell, has been asking for some 30 jobs bills to at least go through committee or to be on the floor, and I do not think that a jobs bill would be a problem for a Republican to object to.

So I would once again advise the gentleman that I think my statement was correct. The Senate minority leader has asked for every single one of these 30 bills that have been passed by the House to be debated and voted on, and Republicans have pledged their support of all 30.

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, I applaud the gentleman, my friend, Mr. Polis, for not only coming to our defense and aid in this but also aiming for things that people all across this country need, and it's called action by Congress for jobs.

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Mr. SESSIONS. Well, I'm not seeking recognition, but I would say that the gentleman from Arizona has a good bill, and I encourage you to read it

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, just so you know, the gentleman is correct, and I appreciate his viewpoint of this.

This is a copy of Mr. Quayle's bill right here. It's about one-third of a page long. It's a good idea that says we're going to increase the number of people who can invest in a community bank. I hope that should not require us to have to go back and do too much thinking about how great this would be. We're trying to perfect, instead of by just having an amendment, to allow all Members to take part in these things with their good ideas.

So I do take that what the gentleman said is correct, but good ideas are part of this bill. That should be what we're about here on the floor, just as an amendment that may not have gone through.

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, the gentlewoman from New York makes a good point about the President's jobs bill, except it picks winners and losers, and has hundreds of billions of dollars of tax increases that will continue to kill the free enterprise system, along with the other administrative things that this President is doing to the free enterprise system. So this body will not, will not pass hundreds of billions of dollars of tax increases and then say we're trying to help people doing that.

The President, I'm sure, is entitled to his own beliefs. We're going to do the things which work, that empower the free enterprise system.

Speaking of working and empowering the free enterprise system, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Schweikert), who has brought great ideas to this bill and they are included in this.

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, at this time I would like to yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Pence), a man who I believe is one of the clearest thinkers in this Congress. He is a person who studies well, applies logic, and comes out with a deduction for making things better for people who are not in this town, but rather people who are the real part of America.

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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, to hear the gentleman's strong voice, not only as an entrepreneur before he came to Congress, but in Mr. Polis' dustup as he speaks in the Rules Committee in which he talks about America wanting to have a bright future, he is the father of a new young son, and he looks forward to the day that his son will have a bright future in this country. I appreciate his words today. He is also correct that we do not create jobs in this town, as it is the free enterprise system that does that. Yet with that comes an equal recognition that this town gets in the way of jobs and job creation.

Our taxes are preparing to be raised. The President, the Democratic Party are all about raising taxes on entrepreneurs, and people who get up and go to work every day, and small business, and taking away a Tax Code that benefits women, in particular married women, with the marriage penalty, as well as job creation through incentives that might deal with depreciation. All of these things are part of a pro-growth jobs package, and unfortunately, this House is not together on that. This House is having to, as the gentleman Mr. Pence said, make incremental progress as we move forward.

Mr. Speaker, this body is big enough to be able to recognize that this country is in trouble. I don't care if you live in Orlando, Florida, or in Pensacola, Florida, or whether you live in Dallas, Texas, or whether you live in California. The needs of this great Nation are about job creation and about ensuring in a competitive marketplace that we keep jobs, that we have ample credit that's available, that we have new ideas like we're handling today in this bill, but that we also go to some old ideas, one of which is, when you tax companies or when you tax something, you get less of it.

What the President of the United States and the Democratic Party want to do is to tax America--the free enterprise system--to pick winners and losers and then try to call that ``new revenue'' to this country when, in fact, all it does is offset it with higher unemployment.

We need a pro-growth economy. We need a pro-growth agenda from the United States Congress. It's not just the House but the Senate, also. We need the President of the United States to understand that his temptation to talk about economic growth should be about job creation, not just about picking winners and losers. We need someone who will bring this country together, not attack our free enterprise system, not stand up in front of people and say that we can work together but then not actually become responsible enough to become engaged in legislation that will pass so that we can make this country stronger.

The Republican Party is here today, leading this bill on the floor. We've got a rule which allows for 17 amendments--13 from Democrats, 3 from Republicans, 1 bipartisan. Once again, our Speaker, John Boehner, and the gentleman from California, David Dreier, who is the chairman of the Rules Committee, are intensely interested in having this House work in a bipartisan fashion, but making progress for the American people. The American people expect us and want us to do better. Today is a chance to work together, pass a bill, put it across the aisle to the Senate, and ask them to please join us in making life better for Americans.

Mr. Speaker, I hope all of my colleagues support this rule. It's a great rule. It does the right thing. The underlying legislation is wonderful, and I urge a ``yes'' vote on the previous question and on the rule.

The material previously referred to by Mr. Polis is as follows:

An Amendment to H. Res. 572 Offered by Mr. Polis of Colorado

At the end of the resolution, add the following new sections:

SEC. 2. Immediately upon adoption of this resolution the Speaker shall, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1748) to provide consumers relief from high gas prices, and for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided among and controlled by the chair and ranking minority members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Natural Resources. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. All points of order against provisions in the bill are waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. If the Committee of the Whole rises and reports that it has come to no resolution on the bill, then on the next legislative day the House shall, immediately after the third daily order of business under clause 1 of rule XIV, resolve into the Committee of the Whole for further consideration of the bill.

SEC. 3. Clause 1(c) of rule XIX shall not apply to the consideration of the bill specified in section 2 of this resolution.

(The information contained herein was provided by the Republican Minority on multiple occasions throughout the 110th and 111th Congresses.)

The Vote on the Previous Question: What It Really Means

This vote, the vote on whether to order the previous question on a special rule, is not merely a procedural vote. A vote against ordering the previous question is a vote against the Republican majority agenda and a vote to allow the opposition, at least for the moment, to offer an alternative plan. It is a vote about what the House should be debating.

Mr. Clarence Cannon's Precedents of the House of Representatives (VI, 308 311), describes the vote on the previous question on the rule as ``a motion to direct or control the consideration of the subject before the House being made by the Member in charge.'' To defeat the previous question is to give the opposition a chance to decide the subject before the House. Cannon cites the Speaker's ruling of January 13, 1920, to the effect that ``the refusal of the House to sustain the demand for the previous question passes the control of the resolution to the opposition'' in order to offer an amendment. On March 15, 1909, a member of the majority party offered a rule resolution. The House defeated the previous question and a member of the opposition rose to a parliamentary inquiry, asking who was entitled to recognition. Speaker Joseph G. Cannon (R-Illinois) said: ``The previous question having been refused, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Fitzgerald, who had asked the gentleman to yield to him for an amendment, is entitled to the first recognition.''

Because the vote today may look bad for the Republican majority they will say ``the vote on the previous question is simply a vote on whether to proceed to an immediate vote on adopting the resolution ..... [and] has no substantive legislative or policy implications whatsoever.'' But that is not what they have always said. Listen to the Republican Leadership Manual on the Legislative Process in the United States House of Representatives, (6th edition, page 135). Here's how the Republicans describe the previous question vote in their own manual: ``Although it is generally not possible to amend the rule because the majority Member controlling the time will not yield for the purpose of offering an amendment, the same result may be achieved by voting down the previous question on the rule....... When the motion for the previous question is defeated, control of the time passes to the Member who led the opposition to ordering the previous question. That Member, because he then controls the time, may offer an amendment to the rule, or yield for the purpose of amendment.''

In Deschler's Procedure in the U.S. House of Representatives, the subchapter titled ``Amending Special Rules'' states: ``a refusal to order the previous question on such a rule [a special rule reported from the Committee on Rules] opens the resolution to amendment and further debate.'' (Chapter 21, section 21.2) Section 21.3 continues: ``Upon rejection of the motion for the previous question on a resolution reported from the Committee on Rules, control shifts to the Member leading the opposition to the previous question, who may offer a proper amendment or motion and who controls the time for debate thereon.''

Clearly, the vote on the previous question on a rule does have substantive policy implications. It is one of the only available tools for those who oppose the Republican majority's agenda and allows those with alternative views the opportunity to offer an alternative plan.

Mr. SESSIONS. I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.

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