WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, voted to oppose H.R. 3606 a bill sent over from the House that will significantly weaken important investor protections, rollback securities disclosures, and exempt extremely large corporations from long-standing, critical accounting rules and executive compensation disclosures.
Sen. Landrieu joined Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., in offering the INVEST in America Act as an alternative to H.R. 3606. The INVEST Act would have made improvements to H.R. 3606. The INVEST Act garnered bipartisan support, receiving 54 votes, but did not clear the 60-vote hurdle needed to end debate and move to a vote on final passage.
“I did not join my colleagues in voting for the House bill today, because, despite claims that it is a Jobs bill, it is really a deregulation bill,” Sen. Landrieu said. “It rolls back critical investor protections under the guise of getting capital into the hands of small businesses.
“Many of these investor protections were put in place in response to the Savings and Loan scandal in the 1980’s; the burst of the internet stock bubble in the 1990’s; the Enron and Worldcom scandals of the early 2000’s; and finally the economic crisis of 2008. Winston Churchill said, ‘those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ I’m afraid that with today’s vote, we are unnecessarily risking a repeat of the harmful impact to our economy of not protecting those who invest their hard-earned money in America’s businesses.”
Before passing H.R. 3606, Sen. Landrieu supported an amendment to legalize and regulate the raising of start-up capital for small businesses on the internet, otherwise known as crowdfunding. The promise of crowdfunding is that investments in small amounts made through transparent online forums can allow the “wisdom of the crowd” to provide funding for small, smart companies. The language is similar to language contained in the CROWD FUND Act that Sen. Landrieu cosponsored earlier this month and identical to language included in the INVEST Act. The amendment passed by a vote of 64-35.
“It is a positive step forward that the Senate amended the House bill in a way that will make use of the technological tools at our disposal to increase investment in America’s small businesses, while still protecting people who take money out of their paycheck to support a small business,” Sen. Landrieu said. “However, even with this amendment, I believe we could have and should have done better. We should have spent more time debating the bill and making sensible changes. We should have kept working until we passed legislation that benefits hard-working Main Street families. Not make it easier for unsuspecting investors to lose their life-savings.”