Check out the Senate, guys, they passed two whole major bills on Thursday! Don’t look now, but the JOBS Act to reduce regulations on small businesses and the STOCK Act to prevent insider trading in Congress — both already passed by the House — made it through the Senate by fairly convincing bipartisan margins. Where are the tears, the blood, the soiled Depends? A few theories: one, these two bills have fun acronyms that fit neatly into press releases going out to saturated constituent mailing lists in an election year when Congress continues to rank below mandatory anal probes for airline passengers in popularity, and two, SPRING BREAK HELL YES Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are sponsoring drug-fueled bipartisan orgies that have put everyone in a good mood. Let’s say number two. What have you won, America?
According to POLITICO, the JERBS Act will “ease a set of six Securities and Exchange Commission regulations intended to make it easier for companies to go public more quickly and raise money more easily” if it is passed by the House with the new Senate amendments. Sounds good, unless you are Senator Dick Durbin, whose two margarita minimum per session memo went straight to the spam folder:
“Why should investors choose to invest in companies under conditions that do less to protect their money?” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Thursday. “Why should investors who were burned during the dot-com crash put more capital in companies that are exempt from the same rules we put in place to ensure it would never happen again?”
Why must Dick Durbin rain on everyone’s Cancun beach day? How about the STOCK Act to prevent insider trading in Congress, The Hill?
“We passed a strong bill with teeth that will clearly and expressly make it illegal for members of Congress, their staff and their families to gain personal profits from nonpublic information gained through their service,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the legislation.
Hooray! Well, more like “hooray minus the political intelligence regulations part” which is more like “sigh, fine” especially because it gives the moral high ground to Chuck Grassley:
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The Senate action circumvents a thorny amendment sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) requiring political intelligence operatives to regularly report their activity. The Senate adopted the Grassley proposal by a vote of 60-39 in February, but the GOP-controlled House opposed the Grassley’s language and did not include it in its version.
Grassley’s language would have dramatically expanded the disclosure of lobbying activities by requiring specialists who glean valuable information from Capitol Hill to register and report their activities after making even one contact to gather political intelligence. Hedge funds and other money managers pay top dollar for the information, which can be used to make lucrative trades.