With House passage of the bipartisan JOBS Act, Democrats and Republicans are trying ensure they get the credit they feel they deserve.
The bill, put together by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), cleared the chamber today 390-23. Tagged as a job creation measure, the bill — formally known as the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act — is designed to help small businesses raise capital.
The Senate is working on its own version of the measure, and Senate Democratic leaders hope to clear their package after the Senate Banking Committee finishes drafting it. President Barack Obama also supports the measure.
But despite the overwhelming bipartisan support, Democrats and Republicans are still tussling over who should get primary credit for the measure.
The Cantor package is made up of six existing bills, some which had Democratic sponsors and had passed the House with heavy Democratic support. A Cantor aide said the Majority Leader had identified small-business capital formation as a possible area of bipartisanship in a memo he released in September.
But Senate Democrats see Cantor’s move as a victory for them and an effort to work with Democrats on their initiatives. They note that the capital formation initiatives were part of a White House white paper released in January and chalk up the turn of events to House Republicans failing to win public support for their effort to roll back government regulations.
“They were losing the message [war] so they just bundled together a bunch of bipartisan bills that were independently already in the works,” said a senior Senate Democratic aide, who added that the deregulation bills were seen as ideological measures.
A House Republican aide said that the JOBS Act is just another piece of the party’s overall strategy to revitalize the economy, which includes rolling back burdensome regulations.
“Everyone understands that reducing red tape and eliminating barriers is an important part of creating jobs,” the aide said.
The Senate Democratic aide said the base measure of House package, which is sponsored by Reps. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) and John Carney (D-Del.), was introduced Dec. 8 and was passed by House Financial Services Committee last month 54-1.
That provision of the package would reduce the costs of going public by phasing in certain regulations over a five-year period. The aide said that Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced the Senate version of the bill Dec. 1.
Cantor touted the proposal as a significant bipartisan achievement and noted that the House action shows that even in an election year, legislative victories are possible.
In an effort to highlight Senate inaction on other House bills Republicans argue would help create jobs, Cantor today called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to pass the measure.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters in the Capitol after a speech on the Senate floor that accused the CIA of searching computers set up for Congressional staff for their research of interrogation programs.