U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced the American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship Act. The AGREE Act stems from areas of common agreement between the President's jobs plan, recommendations from the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and plans put forward by both parties in Congress.
"The AGREE Act is a genuine bipartisan effort to put politics aside and come together on real job-creating measures that will help put Americans back to work," said Coons. "We can dwell on the partisan politics that have gridlocked this body and this town for much of our first year in office, or we can look forward and find ways we can work together to help Americans confront this jobs crisis. We need to help our businesses grow and create jobs, and that's what the AGREE Act is designed to do. I look forward to working with Senator Rubio to build support for the AGREE Act and help it become law."
"The American people deserve solutions to create jobs, not more Washington gridlock and excuses," said Rubio. "The AGREE Act is a meaningful step to find common ground on job creation ideas that will have a positive impact. This kind of effort will be a real test of whether Washington has enough people who aren't just willing to say they will work to find common ground but will actually prove it through their actions."
"From the White House to the halls of Congress, there's a growing recognition that the best way to jump start job creation and ensure America's long-term economic competitiveness is to improve the environment for entrepreneurs to start new firms and expand existing ones," said Steve Case, CEO of Revolution LLC and a member of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. "I commend Senators Coons and Rubio for coming together to introduce the AGREE Act, an important step in the right direction for helping entrepreneurs create jobs and build significant companies here in the United States."
If enacted, the AGREE Act would do the following:
Extend 100 percent bonus depreciation through 2012 for the full cost of qualified investments such as equipment and property.
Extend Section 179 expensing levels for small businesses through 2012.
Eliminate taxes on certain small business stock through 2012.
Extend the Research & Development tax credit until 2013, increase the Alternative Simplified Credit (ASC) from 14 percent to 20 percent, and makes the ASC permanent.
Provide veterans with a tax credit equal to 25% of the fee associated with starting a franchise up to $100,000.
Provide a five-year exemption from Section 404(b) of Sarbanes-Oxley for the first five years of a company going public, or for those below $250 million in total gross revenue (whichever comes first).
Eliminate the per-country numerical limitation for employment-based immigrant visas and adjusts the limitations on family based visa petitions from 7% per country to 15%.
Protect intellectual property by clarifying the Trade Secrets Act, and making it explicitly clear that it is not a crime for federal officials, in the performance of their duties, to share information about suspected infringing products with the right holder of a trademarked good.