US Senator Daniel Akaka
US Senator Daniel Akaka

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka delivered a statement on the Senate floor this evening supporting the INVEST in America Act, which the Senate is considering.

Akaka’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

I rise today to join my colleagues in supporting the INVEST in America Act – the Senate substitute amendment to H.R. 3606 — that would add critical improvements in investor and market protections to the bill that we received from the House.

In order to keep our nation on the path to economic recovery, we must help small businesses access capital and reduce barriers for start-ups. However, we should not do so at the price of consumer safety or market integrity. We must be very careful to do all we can to promote robust capital investment, and at the same time, ensure investor protections are securely in place.

Many groups have voiced their staunch opposition to passing an un-amended H.R. 3606 — for fear of its effects on the investors and the market.

Opponents include the: AARP, AFLCIO, AFSCME, Americans for Financial Reform, Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America, Public Citizen, The Economists’ Committee for Stable, Accountable, Fair, and Efficient Financial Reform, US PIRG, and other consumer and investor protection groups.

They have said that the bill “will in fact only make it more difficult for small businesses to access investment capital” and it “risks exposing investors to a new round of damaging fraud and abuse, while undermining market transparency.”

President Obama recently urged the Senate “to find common ground by supporting the most effective aspects of the House Bill to increase capital formation for growing businesses while also improving the House bill to ensure there are sufficient safeguards to prevent abuse and protect investors.”

I cosponsored the substitute amendment offered by Senators Reed, Landrieu, and Levin because it does precisely what the President asked – it adds essential provisions to the House legislation.

Among other things, the INVEST Act amendment would retain protections put in place after the Internet stock bubble burst; ensure that banks and other large companies, with lots of shareholders, are subject to basic transparency, integrity, and accountability protections; and reauthorize the Export-Import bank, which provides crucial funding to American businesses and supports almost 300,000 jobs yearly.

Most importantly, this amendment fulfills the original intent of this bill. It provides new opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow by raising capital in a way that protects investors, provides financing so businesses can expand and hire more workers, and encourages U.S. companies to export and compete in a global marketplace.

In short, it truly invests in America.

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