WASHINGTON -- The House of Representatives used one of its few remaining legislative days in 2013 to pass a measure Wednesday that would exempt private equity firms like Mitt Romney's Bain Capital from disclosure rules in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

The Dodd-Frank law requires financial advisers who manage more than $150 million in private funds to disclose detailed information to the Securities and Exchange Commission -- information that the SEC uses to protect investors in the formerly secretive funds and to help evaluate systemic risks that could threaten the broader economy.

But House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) argued during the House floor debate before the vote that it is too burdensome for many such private equity firms to satisfy the rather complex filing requirements, and paying the costs would mean less capital going to create new companies and jobs. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) argued that some firms would quit the business of raising money and investing in companies if they had to comply.

"The compliance costs for these smaller firms in towns like Columbus, Ohio, will be especially high as a percentage; and it could drive many of them out of business," Stivers said.

Further, Hensarling argued, the deep-pocketed investors in such private funds are sophisticated and thus don't need extra protection from the SEC.

"It really comes down to us again. Are there going to be additional protections for multimillionaire investors or protections and opportunities for unemployed, single moms trying to make ends meet?" he said, implying that private equity funds create jobs for such women. "Our side of the aisle said, 'Let's help the single mom.'"

The legislation, called the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act, passed 254 to 159, with 36 Democrats crossing the aisle to back the measure.

Still, most Democrats found Hensarling's arguments lacking in merit.

"The other scenario that's been said here is somehow by allowing private equity firms the right to keep secret -- to refuse to disclose that their employees have been prosecuted for violating securities laws, by allowing that to remain undisclosed, that's going to help some single mom go to work. I don't think that is a rational assumption," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.).

Rep. Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said Democrats were all for investment, but they didn't understand why the managers of those investments deserved a cloak of secrecy.

"Yes, we appreciate investment. Yes, we want job creation. But why should we have private equity funds that somehow have no oversight, that don't have anybody scrutinizing what they're doing?" Waters said. "Why is it we don't want any regulatory agencies looking at them? That just doesn't make good sense."

While private equity trade groups backed the bill, SEC Chair Mary Jo White opposed it and the White House has threatened to veto it. The legislation was also opposed by some public sector investors -- such as CalPERS, the California public employees' retirement system, which invests in private equity funds -- as well as by the North American Securities Administrators Association.

With so little time left in the year, the measure is extremely unlikely to be brought up in the Senate. It is also unlikely to attract a sufficient number of Democrats.

Update: This story was updated to include a quote from Rep. Stivers.

Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.

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  • The Numbers

    The House has 233 Republicans and 200 Democrats. Each party should pick up one more seat when two vacancies are filled. Going into the election, the GOP edge was 242-193. Senate Democrats will have a caucus of 55, including two independents, Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Republicans have 45. That's a pickup of two seats for Democrats. <em>(Text <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130103/us-new-congress-glance/">via the Associated Press</a>)</em>

  • Women

    The House will have 79 women, including 60 Democrats. At the end of the last session, there were 50 Democratic women and 24 Republican women. The new Senate will have 20 women members, an increase of three. That consists of 16 Democrats and four Republicans. The last Senate had 12 Democratic women and five Republicans. (Text <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130103/us-new-congress-glance/">via the Associated Press</a>)

  • Freshmen

    With two vacancies to be filled, the House has 82 freshmen; 47 Democrats and 35 Republicans. As of the end of the last session, 87 of 103 freshmen were Republicans. The Senate will include 14 new faces, with nine Democrats and the independent King. Five are women. New senators include Brian Schatz, who was sworn in on Dec. 27 to fill the seat of the late Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye. (Text <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130103/us-new-congress-glance/">via the Associated Press</a>) <em>(Pictured at left: Incoming House freshmen of the 113th Congress pose for a group photo on the East steps of the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. AP Photo/Susan Walsh)</em>

  • African Americans

    The House will have 40 African-Americans, all Democrats. The number of Democrats is unchanged, although two Republicans will be gone: Allen West, R-Fla., lost his re-election bid, and Tim Scott, R-S.C., was appointed to fill the Senate seat of Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who is retiring. Scott will be the first black lawmaker in the Senate since Roland Burris, who retired in 2010 after filling the Illinois Senate seat of Barack Obama for almost two years. (Text <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130103/us-new-congress-glance/">via the Associated Press</a>) <em>(Pictured at left: Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who was appointed by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to replace outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., walks out of the Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. AP Photo/Susan Walsh)</em>

  • Hispanics

    The new House will have 33 Hispanics, with 25 Democrats and eight Republicans. That's up slightly from last year. The Senate will have three Hispanics: Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Republican Marco Rubio of Florida and Republican freshman Ted Cruz of Texas. (Text <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130103/us-new-congress-glance/">via the Associated Press</a>) <em>(Pictured at left: Rep.-elect Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, speaks with members of the media after a news conference with newly elected Democratic House members on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)</em>

  • Other Minorities

    The new House will have nine Asian Americans, all Democrats. There are two American Indians: Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Ben Lujan, D-N.M. (Text <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130103/us-new-congress-glance/">via the Associated Press</a>) <em>(Pictured at left: Sen.-elect, current Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and her husband, Leighton Oshima ride the Senate Subway on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)</em>

  • Other Facts

    According to CQ Roll Call newspaper, the average age of House members in the 113th Congress is 57; the average age of senators is 62. It estimates that the House will include some 277 Protestants and Catholics, 22 Jews, two Muslims and two Buddhists. The Senate will have 80 Protestants and Catholics and 10 Jews. The House will have its first Hindu, Rep.Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii. Senate freshman Mazie Hirono, also of Hawaii, will be the Senate's only Buddhist and its first Asian American woman. Also for the first time, white men will be a minority among House Democrats. (Text <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130103/us-new-congress-glance/">via the Associated Press</a>) <em>Pictured at left: Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii is seen on stage during a news conference with newly elected Democratic House members, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)</em>