House advances Wagner’s bipartisan Small Entity Update Act

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 367-8 to approve a bipartisan bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) that she says plays a vital role in expanding investment opportunities for all Americans, improving access to capital for small businesses, and strengthening public markets.

“Small businesses, which make up 99 percent of all enterprises and employ almost half of the U.S. workforce, are disproportionately affected by overly burdensome regulatory barriers,” Rep. Wagner said. “These companies represent the engine of our economy and are far too often subject to one-size-fits-all regulations that limit job creation and economic growth.”

The House-approved Small Entity Update Act, H.R. 2792, would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to report on and revise the definition of “small entity” every five years. Agencies are required to consider the impact of their rules on small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, according to the congressional record bill summary.

Under H.R. 2792, the SEC must provide specific and detailed recommendations to Congress on how the SEC can revise the definition of small entity to align with specified statutory goals, including reducing unnecessary burdens on small entities; and to expand the number of entities covered, the summary says, noting that the SEC also must issue a proposed rule to implement these recommendations.

Rep. Wagner sponsored the measure on April 20 and it has gained five cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. James Himes (D-CT). The U.S. Senate received H.R. 2792 on Wednesday and referred it to the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee for consideration. 

“Small entities simply can’t afford the number of lawyers and regulatory experts that large, multinational firms can to comply with every regulation while still being able to afford the cost of doing business,” said Rep. Wagner. “The government cannot, and should not, treat a small startup in Ballwin, Mo., with seven employees as it would a Fortune 500 company.”

“The Small Entity Update Act will lead to a more targeted regulatory framework for these entities and help make the American dream a reality for all entrepreneurs,” the congresswoman said.