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Public Statements

Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HIMES. Madam Speaker, I now yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I am thrilled to be participating in the management of this debate today and want to start by thanking Chairman Bachus and thanking my friends on the other side of the aisle for the bipartisan and collaborative spirit with which we moved this legislation.

This is important legislation, but the process by which it moved, I think, is something that we should celebrate. This is a time, of course, when the American people are none too happy with us; but this bill was done collaboratively with the support of the President of the United States, the majority and the minority in the House; and it will be good for our economy. So I thank the chairman for his leadership on this, the ranking member, and all who participated in the creation of this important legislation.

As the chairman said, this is good stuff. It has received the support of entrepreneurs, of industry associations, and of people on both sides of the aisle because it does something very, very important, which is acknowledge that regulation is always a balance. It's not always good; it's not always bad. And one of the duties of legislators and regulators is to make sure that our regulation is finely calibrated to protect us, to protect us from fraud, to protect us from mortgages that blow up, to keep our air clean, to keep our water clean. But if it's done in too ham-handed a fashion, it can compromise the vibrancy that provides so much economic opportunity in this country. Every day this institution should be focused on finding that balance, and that's what this bill is about.

It's been criticized here and there by people who I think are of the mindset that any retreat, any revisiting, any amendment to our current regulatory structure is a bad idea. That can't be the right way to think about this stuff. Regulation, like anything else, has to adapt to change with the times. And what we're doing here is particularly important because we are talking about the regulation of small banks which, let's face it, have a tough time competing against the big banks.

And it's about our start-up and emerging-growth companies that may not have the free cash flow in their first couple of years of existence to completely adopt all of the regulation, the disclosure that we might expect of a multibillion-dollar corporation. We have provided an onramp for entrepreneurs as they gain currency, as they increase their revenues, as they become more of a presence--and frankly, therefore, affect the lives of more people--to gradually work into the full regulatory structures of Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulation. And that's a good thing to do.

Today in Palo Alto, there are companies that might not have made it but for this legislation. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, there are start-up companies for which this legislation is going to make the difference between thriving, as the chairman said--maybe being the next Microsoft or the next
Google--and actually not making it. So I'm very happy that we have, in a bipartisan fashion, put forward this legislation which will be good for economic vibrancy and opportunity in this country. Again, I thank the chairman for his collaborative and thoughtful work on this bill.
With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HIMES. Madam Speaker, I now yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I am thrilled to be participating in the management of this debate today and want to start by thanking Chairman Bachus and thanking my friends on the other side of the aisle for the bipartisan and collaborative spirit with which we moved this legislation.

This is important legislation, but the process by which it moved, I think, is something that we should celebrate. This is a time, of course, when the American people are none too happy with us; but this bill was done collaboratively with the support of the President of the United States, the majority and the minority in the House; and it will be good for our economy. So I thank the chairman for his leadership on this, the ranking member, and all who participated in the creation of this important legislation.

As the chairman said, this is good stuff. It has received the support of entrepreneurs, of industry associations, and of people on both sides of the aisle because it does something very, very important, which is acknowledge that regulation is always a balance. It's not always good; it's not always bad. And one of the duties of legislators and regulators is to make sure that our regulation is finely calibrated to protect us, to protect us from fraud, to protect us from mortgages that blow up, to keep our air clean, to keep our water clean. But if it's done in too ham-handed a fashion, it can compromise the vibrancy that provides so much economic opportunity in this country. Every day this institution should be focused on finding that balance, and that's what this bill is about.

It's been criticized here and there by people who I think are of the mindset that any retreat, any revisiting, any amendment to our current regulatory structure is a bad idea. That can't be the right way to think about this stuff. Regulation, like anything else, has to adapt to change with the times. And what we're doing here is particularly important because we are talking about the regulation of small banks which, let's face it, have a tough time competing against the big banks.

And it's about our start-up and emerging-growth companies that may not have the free cash flow in their first couple of years of existence to completely adopt all of the regulation, the disclosure that we might expect of a multibillion-dollar corporation. We have provided an onramp for entrepreneurs as they gain currency, as they increase their revenues, as they become more of a presence--and frankly, therefore, affect the lives of more people--to gradually work into the full regulatory structures of Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulation. And that's a good thing to do.

Today in Palo Alto, there are companies that might not have made it but for this legislation. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, there are start-up companies for which this legislation is going to make the difference between thriving, as the chairman said--maybe being the next Microsoft or the next
Google--and actually not making it. So I'm very happy that we have, in a bipartisan fashion, put forward this legislation which will be good for economic vibrancy and opportunity in this country. Again, I thank the chairman for his collaborative and thoughtful work on this bill.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HIMES. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I thank my friend, Mr. Schweikert, with whom I've enjoyed working on this legislation and in a spirit of bipartisanship; ultimately a bill that was designed to make it easier for small banks, which Congressman Schweikert and I worked together.

I would also like to highlight the work of Congressman Steve Womack of Arkansas on that bill. It found its way into this legislation under another Congressman's name, but it is important and good legislation, and I continue to support it and am thrilled that it's part of this.

Madam Speaker, I would just take issue with one thing that my good friend from Arizona said. The crowdfunding provisions in this legislation should be subject to scrutiny and to careful regulatory oversight. When you combine the concept of the Internet and retail investors into one piece of legislation, be careful.

The Senate amendment to the House crowdfunding provisions in fact adds more protection to small investors who might be subject to being fooled by an Internet predator. And I would just say we should be careful.

We should be careful when we are talking about retail investors, the classic widows and orphans out there that are not necessarily financially sophisticated. They are not the big financial players who get labeled accredited investors or institutional investors and who, frankly, have the capability to take care of themselves. Retail investors who might be subject to the temptations of a deal that in fact is too good to be true offered on the Internet ought to be a cause of concern both for this body and for the regulators who ultimately will write the rules around crowdfunding.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HIMES. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume and thank my friend from Tennessee for his hard work on this bill of which, as I said in my previous statement, I'm very supportive.

I do want to take the opportunity, though, having heard from the gentleman from Tennessee phrases that we hear all too often--phrases like ``one-size-fits-all regulation'' and ``bound up in redtape''--I do want to take this opportunity to remind the American people that those are phrases that sound scary: ``regulation,'' ``redtape,'' and ``one size fits all.'' But what we're talking about here is protection for the American people.

In my previous statement, I made the point that we have to get the balance right; but like everybody else in this Chamber, I woke up a couple of years ago to learn that 11 men were dead on a deep-sea drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico and an ocean was poisoned, devastating the economy of the gulf. We've all seen what happens when you sell exploding mortgages to people who can't possibly repay them, even though the people who sold those mortgages know that. I come from a district which actually has some of the poorest air quality in the country.

Why do I enumerate these things? Because they are all a failure to regulate to provide a safe and good environment in which we can thrive. Nobody wants to see 11 men die on a deep-sea drilling platform. Nobody wants to see a return to the notion that anybody should buy an interest-only, reverse-amortizing mortgage that the bankers don't understand.

So I said it before, I'll say it again: the balance is key. And I will oppose those who say that more regulation is always the right idea, but I will also stand up, as I have now, and say there is a balance. And the other side needs to recognize that that balance does not come from opposing and labeling ``redtape'' and ``obstructionism'' and ``one size fits all.''

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. HIMES. Madam Speaker, in closing, let me again reiterate my thanks to Chairman Bachus and to all of the members of the Financial Services Committee who worked hard on this bill.

I think we've had a lot of good debate around very real and important issues. Unusual for this institution is that we've actually managed to keep the ideology and the barbs out of it. I'm very appreciative of that, and I know that the American people are as well.

I appreciate coming, as I do, from a district and a State that will rise or fall on our ability to innovate, to grow small businesses into real world leaders, and to have a financial services sector which is vibrant and innovative, but safe.

I very much appreciate the intent of this legislation. We had good support from both sides of the aisle. The President is supportive. We heard from industry associations that this was a good thing.

With that, I encourage all of the Members of this body to support this legislation.

I thank again the chairman and the ranking member of the committee and yield back the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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