- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 5, 2012

President Obama gathered Democrats and Republicans at the White House Rose Garden on Thursday to sign a bill designed to encourage investment in startup businesses and take a break from election-year partisan sniping.

A number of lawmakers, including several Republicans, appeared onstage with Mr. Obama as he hailed the new law as a “useful and important” step toward removing bureaucratic government barriers to job creation.

The Jobs Act (Jump-start Our Business Startups) is aimed at helping small businesses and startups raise capital by easing several Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

It enables “crowdfunding,” the ability to expand the potential pool of investors, and increases the funds entrepreneurs can raise initially. In addition, it makes it easier for a small company to go public and gives entrepreneurs the chance to advertise to the general public to attract investors.

The bill will help “business owners who want to take their company to the next level,” Mr. Obama said, adding that it could be a “game-changer” for startups.

With the economic recovery still slow, the measure attracted plenty of bipartisan support, evidenced by the number of lawmakers from each party on hand for the ceremony, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, Republican Sen. Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts, and GOP Reps. Spencer Bachus of Alabama, Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina and Scott Garrett of New Jersey.

Also present were Democratic Reps. John B. Larson of Connecticut, John C. Carney Jr. of Delaware, and Terri A. Sewell of Alabama and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District.

Mr. Cantor hailed the Jobs Act as a model for how both parties can come together on areas of common interest and support.

“This bipartisan package will spur job creation by removing outdated regulations and increasing access to capital so that small businesses and startups can grow and create jobs,” Mr. Cantor said. “It shows we can set aside our differences and work together on areas of common ground to grow the economy and get people back to work.”

Mr. Obama also appeared to be trying to counter Republican criticism that the government has intruded too much in the economy during his time in the Oval Office.

“I’ve always said that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not the government,” Mr. Obama said during the signing ceremony. “Our job is to help our companies grow and hire.”

That belief, Mr. Obama said, is the reason he backed the Jobs Act and continued to push for it.

“That’s why I’ve cut taxes for small business over 17 times,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s why every day I’m fighting to make sure America is the best place on earth to do business.”

With Mr. Cantor, who authored the original bill, standing immediately behind Mr. Obama, the comments seemed particularly pointed. Mr. Cantor sparred with the president during the debt-ceiling negotiations last summer and has strongly opposed his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy.