House Clears Bill to Help Small Businesses

WASHINGTON—The House on Thursday approved measures designed to help smaller businesses raise capital, a rare display of bipartisanship over a bill both parties hope will alleviate the difficulty such companies have in their efforts to create jobs.

The bill, which passed the House by a vote of 390-23, is meant to help small businesses use sources of capital other than banks and lift regulations that make it more challenging for business owners to solicit outside investment. Yet supporters offered no estimates for how many jobs the bill might create, and regulators have expressed concern its provisions will erode investor protections.

Still, its backers hope that the largely technical nature of the changes in the bill will go some way in helping smaller firms grow. The measure has bipartisan support in the Senate as well as the backing of President Barack Obama.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said the bill will help remove “costly regulations” on small businesses. “Small businesses and start-ups simply do not have the bandwidth to comply with Washington’s red tape—and yet they are the ones we are counting on to create jobs,” he said before the vote.

The House bill combines six pieces of legislation introduced individually last year, four of which have already cleared the full House by wide margins. House Republicans bundled the measures into a single package after Mr. Obama called on Congress to pass a small-business bill in his State of the Union address in January.

By Andrew Ackerman

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