The U.S. House passed two bills to loosen Securities and Exchange Commission rules with the aim of giving companies more opportunities to raise capital.
House lawmakers voted 421-1 for a measure to increase the registration exemption for smaller securities offerings and 420-2 for a proposal that would increase to 2,000 from 500 the shareholder threshold for closely held banks. Today’s votes send the bills to the Senate.
“Right now around this country, there are any number of banks with 450 shareholders and living with a lot of anxiety when they look at the current regime,” Representative Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat who sponsored the shareholder threshold bill, said in an interview before the vote.
Republicans and Democrats have found bipartisan agreement for a package of bills aimed at helping startups and smaller firms raise money amid regulatory hurdles and tighter lending standards following the 2008 credit crisis. The House Financial Services Committee last week approved four measures, including the Himes bill, by voice vote.
Representative David Schweikert, an Arizona Republican, sponsored the measure that would increase the exemption from SEC registration to $50 million from $5 million.
The Senate has yet to schedule action on companion bills to either of the bills passed today.
The House will vote later this week on two more measures from the package approved by the Financial Services panel -- a removal of the SEC ban on closely held firms soliciting investment from accredited investors and a bill to provide an exemption for so-called crowdfunding.