So I hear that Richard Trumka is personally outraged by the JOBS Act, and the larger idea that “this administration thinks that it’s going to be good for the country to re-inflate a stock market bubble.” This didn’t deter Trumka’s AFL-CIO from endorsing the President who signed that bill for re-election, of course. “Labor weighs a number of factors in their election endorsements,” is the imagined reply I can see myself getting from a labor operative minutes after this post is published. And that’s fine.
I actually object more to the enabling from some media outlets that it was Eric Cantor’s JOBS Act, the implication being that the President was some innocent bystander in the whole enterprise, who merely signed a bill that passed with veto-proof majorities. It was up to Matt Taibbi to painstakingly point out the various task forces and executive branch initiatives that came up with pretty much all of the measures that wound up in the JOBS Act. The Administration took credit from it from the beginning; it came out of their Treasury Department, their Jobs and Competitiveness Council, and even their SEC (though the SEC chief, Mary Schapiro, did eventually turn against the bill). They also used a statement of Administration policy to grease the skids for the bill in the House, and they ensured that the Senate would just move the bill right to the floor and around the committee process, where Democrats could actually improve it and remove the worst elements.
So the bill eventually left the House with 400 votes and the basically unequivocal rubber-stamp of the Democratic president behind it. It then goes to the Senate, where everyone expects that it will be whittled away at least a little by Senate Democrats, whose individual members have more power than House members to make changes.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the Senate debate. In a last-minute change described to me as “very weird,” there was basically no formal committee process for this bill. There was no committee markup at all, meaning this monstrously important piece of legislation went straight to the floor without substantive debate.
There was even talk about having the bill voted on by unanimous consent/voice vote, which is what happens in congress when you’re voting on something uncontroversial, like naming a post office or adopting a national “Stan Musial Day” or something.
That didn’t happen, but still: Instead of allowing the bill to go through a normal debate-and-negotiate process in the Senate, it appears someone in the administration – some on the Hill pointed the finger at Sperling – leaned on the Democratic leadership to simply ram the thing through at high speed by sending it straight to the floor, where it passed with 74 votes, splitting the Democratic vote 26-25.
I have little to add to Taibbi’s opus; I pointed out that the Administration took credit for the JOBS Act when they released a statement on the final passage of the bill. But for anyone trying to disassociate Obama from the chaos and fraud this law will now engender, Taibbi has penned the definitive work on the subject.
By the way, two firms have already submitted plans for IPOs under the JOBS Act, including LegalZoom, the sleazy legal advice company you often see peddling their wares on cable news. They have a valuation of over $260 million, proving that the bill mainly provides a boost to “small business,” right? So now LegalZoom will not have to deliver any SEC reports on its accounting for five years after the IPO, among other benefits.