JOBS Act debates getting more focused in Senate

But there's still no agreement on a bill that would include making crowdfunding legal.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

The JOBS Act, a collection of regulatory changes that would make crowdfunding legal and make it easier for companies to become publicly traded, has been wending its way through congressional proceedings this week.

Today, two Democrat-sponsored Senate amendments to the House version of the bill--one to increase consumer protections in the crowdfunding section, and another unrelated amendment to reauthorize funding of the export/import bank--failed to win necessary votes in the Senate to be attached to the act.

The JOBS Act passed the House easily on March 8 by a 390-23 vote, and its supporters hoped that it would sail through the Senate.

The Senate is likely to consider a new, pared-down amendment that still addresses the crowdfunding provisions. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) has also proposed an amendment to clarify what counts as a "person" when calculating how many share owners a private company has; under JOBS, the number of owners that would force a company to go public is raised from 500 to 1,000.

We understand that Senate Democrats are trying to keep debate over the crowdfunding provisions alive so that the bill will have to be voted on again in the House, which will keep the act open to negotiation. Senate Republicans just want the thing passed. Were the Senate to pass the House version of the bill as currently written, it would then go to President Obama's desk and be signed, as he has already said he supports the House bill.

Update at 12:08 p.m. PT: The Senate had scheduled to take up voting on the JOBS Act and amendments later today. That vote has just been taken off the schedule.