By Michelle Quinn
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor toured Google's campus here Tuesday, meeting with company executives and getting a ride in Google's famous driverless car.
"It is pretty extraordinary," the Virginia Republican told POLITICO. "I saw what tech can do to expand the imagination and redefine what a car means."
Cantor visited Google and other tech firms in advance of President Barack Obama's expected Thursday signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which reduces securities regulations on startups and young companies as they seek easier access to capital. Cantor steered the bill through the House, which overwhelmingly voted to pass it.
Cantor met with Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Kent Walker, the company's general counsel. He also met with executives at Google's venture arm, Google Ventures, and some of the entrepreneurs Google Ventures has supported.
In an interview after the meetings, Cantor said that he discussed the JOBS Act and other ways to help entrepreneurs. Talking to founders of startups, he said, was "validation" of the JOBS Act. But more needs to be done.
"Washington has a problem embracing a sense of risk taking," Cantor said. People he spoke to on his trip to Silicon Valley "made it loud and clear that Washington is making it more difficult for startups to succeed."
Cantor outlined other things lawmakers could do to help what he called "innovation industry," policy areas such as highly skilled immigration visas, better access to capital, patent rights and protection of intellectual property.
Susan Molinari, Google's vice president of public policy, said in a statement, "We are excited that Majority Leader Cantor could make the time to stop by the Googleplex and learn more about our products."
As for the driverless car ride -- Cantor reported he felt safe as a passenger.