It's amazing for Congress to do much in any election year, let alone in this particular highly partisan environment. But the amazing is happening.
Two weeks ago, four senators -- Coons (D-Del.), Moran (R-Kan.), Rubio (R-Fla.), and Warner (D-Va.), introduced a bipartisan Startup Act 2.0. This Act, which builds on the JOBS Act that also amazingly in this election year easily passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama, goes even further in improving capital access for new companies (by, among other things, making permanent the capital gains exclusion for investments in startups held for at least five years), sensibly reforms immigration laws to let in a lot more STEM graduates and immigrant entrepreneurs, encourages universities to accelerate commercialization of technologies developed by their faculty, and would implement a series of sensible regulatory reforms. All of these ideas would help boost startups, which have been flagging in number and job generation over the past couple of years.
Now, the more amazing has happened. Yesterday, eight Congressmen introduced the identical legislation in the House. The Startup Act 2.0 in that chamber is also equally bipartisan, with this impressive list of co-sponsors: Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) and Robert Dold (R-Ill.). And one more amazing happening yesterday. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), one of the sponsors of the Senate bill, joined the House members to show his support. That doesn't happen.
Several months ago, the likelihood that the JOBS Act was going to be rushed through the Congress in this politically charged year most people would have been remote. Naysayers who may be saying the same thing about Startup Act 2.0 thus should be careful.
But even if this more ambitious, and sorely needed, legislation does not make it into law this year, look for it to be high on the agenda in the 2013 congressional session. Ample evidence documents the huge role that startups play in job creation and innovation. The Startup Act 2.0 entails very little cost and promises significant advances on both the job and innovation fronts. The sooner the Act is enacted the better it will be for the country.