A job for lame-duck Congress
We aren’t sure who exactly came up with the term “lame-duck Congress,” but then we also believe it doesn’t much matter. The Congress that’s meeting now likely won’t do much as the world waits for new members to be sworn in during January and a new House majority to hand the speaker’s gavel to Nancy Pelosi of California.
But the lameness of what Congress will likely do doesn’t take away from the fact that there is work that could be done. We would go so far as to say that there is good reason for Congress to convene beyond the normal spending necessary to keep the government lights on. Namely, there is a rare bipartisan opportunity to enact legislation that would lessen the burden small businesses face when attempting to create jobs in America.
We understand that just about every economic reform is justified under the rubric of helping the little guy in businesses. But in this case, there is a set of reforms on the table that would bolster small businesses, which create two out of every three new jobs in this country.
Here is what is happening: Earlier this year, Jeb Hensarling — the retiring Dallas Republican who for a few more weeks will be chairman of the House Financial Services Committee — shepherded through the House a bill he calls JOBS 3.0. Like all things congressional, the bill is an ode to complexity and bureaucratic-speak and could be improved. But overall, the bill helps reshape the regulatory landscape for small businesses in such a way as to make it easier for them to create more jobs that can employ more Americans.
The bill contains 32 measures that cut red tape and promote investment, innovation and access to capital. One provision would make it easier for people with little or no credit history to obtain bank loans. Another provision revises securities rules to help businesses and investors raise capital. Other changes update old rules that make it difficult and expensive for companies to go public.
But like many other good ideas, this one passed the House overwhelmingly and headed to the Senate, where it appears headed for a quiet death. If there is going to be a lame-duck Congress, the Senate should use part of its time to pass this bill. Doing so just might help millions of middle-class Americans land a job, increase their pay, or otherwise make permanent gains while this booming economy lasts.