Senate Republicans unveil bill to help small businesses, retail investors

JOBS Act 4.0 intended to 'revitalize interest in the public markets,' Sen. Toomey says

A group of Senate Republicans on Monday introduced a proposal to spur new business formations by encouraging companies to become publicly traded, tailoring regulations for small businesses and enhancing protection for retail investors.

The bill – known as the JOBS Act 4.0 – represents the collective efforts of Senate Republicans to introduce 24 standalone bills that, among other things, could make it easier for small businesses to access capital and roll back certain regulations put into place in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. 


It is intended to build on the bipartisan JOBS Act of 2012, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama 10 years ago this week.

Sen. Pat Toomey

Sen. Pat Toomey questions Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a congressional hearing on Capitol Hill on Dec. 10, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/The Washington Post via AP, Pool / AP Newsroom)

"The JOBS Act helped to revitalize interest in the public markets and spur economic growth, but it is clear significant work remains to be done to give retail investors access to higher returns and ensure American markets remain the deepest and most liquid in the world," Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said in a statement. 

The new plan includes eight initiatives that are designed to encourage young firms to trade on public markets, where investors have the chance to earn the highest returns. It also contains provisions that Republicans say will reduce costs associated with seeking capital by "appropriately tailoring regulations for small businesses." 

"Our work today seeks to accelerate economic growth and spur new business creation," said Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. "These bills create more access to capital for businesses on Main Street and in rural communities while repealing burdensome requirements inhibiting growth and innovation." 

COVID-19 insurance policies are increasingly joining passports and sunscreen as vacation staples, creating opportunities for insurers as more countries require mandatory coverage in case visitors fall ill from the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan / AP Newsroom)

The bill also attempts to enhance retail investor access to opportunities by preventing them from being excluded in certain situations. There are provisions in the bill that would boost investor protection and privacy and that would update outdated statutory and regulatory provisions. 


The proposal has the support of several business groups, including the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council and Americans for Prosperity, according to a release from the Republican lawmakers. 

Some ideas have already received bipartisan support, which they would require in order to become law as Democrats control both chambers of Congress and the White House. It is unclear if the bills could receive 60 votes in order to overcome a potential Democratic filibuster in the Senate.