U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), author of Startup Act 2.0 -- legislation to jumpstart the economy through the creation and growth of news businesses -- released the following statement regarding President Obama's meeting at the White House today with American business leaders to discuss immigration reform and the economy:
"We must tap into the experience and knowledge our nation's top executives if we're going to strengthen the economy and get Americans back to work," Sen. Moran said. "As the debate moves forward, we must keep an eye toward how immigration reforms can help our economy grow and create jobs for Americans.
"Foreign-born entrepreneurs in the United States have a strong record of creating businesses and employing Americans, but are many times forced to leave," Sen. Moran continued. "It makes no sense to send these talented individuals back to their home countries to compete against American businesses. Next week, I will be reintroducing Startup Act 2.0, the only proposal on the table that includes an Entrepreneur Visa that would allow foreign-born, highly-skilled entrepreneurs currently in the United States to remain here, start a business, and employ Americans."
Start Act 2.0 focuses on giving entrepreneurs -- both American and foreign-born -- the freedom to pursue their ideas, form companies in the United States, and hire employees. Many of the provisions in Startup Act 2.0 were supported by the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, including:
Cost-benefit analyses for all new "economically significant regulations;'
Stapling of a green card to STEM graduates from American universities;
Establishing a new visa program for immigrant entrepreneurs; and
Making permanent the capital gains tax exemption from the sale of certain small business stock held for at least 5 years.
Entrepreneurs and the new businesses they create are vital to the strength and competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Between 1980 and 2005, startups less than five years old accounted for nearly all of the net new jobs created in America. New firms create on average approximately 3 million jobs each year. Yet recent data suggests the startup engine of our economy is slowing; America is experiencing the lowest level of new business formation since 1977.
The future of our country's economic competitiveness depends on America winning the global battle for talent. A Kauffman Foundation report found that in 2011 immigrants were more than twice as likely to start businesses as native-born Americans. In fact, more than a quarter of the technology and engineering companies started in the United States between 1995 and 2005 had at least one key founder who was foreign-born. These companies employed 450,000 workers and produced $52 billion in sales in 2005.
Other countries recognize the importance of entrepreneurs to their nation's economy, and these nations are aggressively attracting and supporting the highly-skilled individuals needed to generate more companies and create jobs. Since January 2011, at least seven countries have adopted new laws to attract and better support entrepreneurs from around the world -- and the United States is falling further behind.