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Lame Duck Session Should Undo Crippling Rules on Middle-Class Investors and Entrepreneurs

Next year, with Congress divided once again, bipartisan legislation will be the order of the day. Indeed for passage of both chambers, it will be virtually the only thing on the menu.

The good news is Congress doesn’t have wait until next year to pass some bipartisan legislation that will benefit greatly America’s middle-class investors and entrepreneurs. There is a modest but impactful deregulatory bill that the U.S. House of Representatives passed nearly unanimously. All the Senate has to do is pass the same bill with very minor tweaks in the lame duck session already planned for the end of the year, before the newly elected Congress is sworn in this coming January

House and Senate leaders will likely convene a lame duck session to confirm judges and vote on a farm bill to (unfortunately) renew agricultural subsidies. They should at the very least ensure that this bill that has already passed the House makes its way to the president.

The bill is the Jobs and Investor Confidence Act, which passed the House in July with a vote of 406-4. Also called the JOBS Act 3.0—referring to the original modestly deregulatory Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that was signed by President Obama in 2012—this bill further broadens exemptions for small and midsize public companies from the costly accounting mandates of the Obama-era Dodd-Frank Act and the Bush-era Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Many of the measures in the July bill were championed by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), who may represent Arizona in the Senate next year if she emerges victorious for the race there in which votes are still being counted. Earlier this year, Sinema said that removing red tape on public companies “allows innovative companies to spend valuable resources on product research and development instead of costly and unnecessary external audits. This commonsense solution cuts red tape and allows companies to move life-saving innovations forward.”

The legislation also liberalizes the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “accredited investor” rules to allow middle-class investors who have demonstrated financial expertise to join wealthy venture capitalists in investing in high-growth private companies.

As I wrote recently in Forbes,“[the] JOBS and Investor Confidence Act would increase investment opportunities for millions of Americans, while expanding the pool of capital to which entrepreneurs can appeal for funding. The Senate should pass it immediately to give the middle class a step up on the ladder of wealth.”