What passes for a jobs bill in the House

Updated
 
The House's JOBS Act won't do much for those on the unemployment line.
The House's JOBS Act won't do much for those on the unemployment line.
Associated Press

It’s hard not to like the name of the bill easily approved by the House today: the “JOBS Act.” With high unemployment, the legislation seemingly addresses the nation’s most pressing need.

Alas, it really isn’t worth getting too excited about.

The House Thursday afternoon overwhelmingly approved legislation aimed at easing the rules for capital formation for small companies, which Republicans hailed as a major job-creation bill but Democrats said is just a minor fix for the economy.

Members approved the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) act in a 390-23 vote that saw 158 Democrats join every voting Republican in support of the bill. All “no” votes were Democrats.

The bill stands a reasonably good shot in the Senate, and President Obama will sign it if it reaches his desk.

But while the American Jobs Act was a sweeping economic measure, intended to create over 1 million jobs in 2012, the House’s JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act is a modest bill that’s only expected to help around the margins.

In fact, to be more precise, it’s six modest bills, four of which have already passed, packaged together to give the appearance of a more substantial piece of legislation. The provisions range from addressing the number of shareholders allowed to invest in community banks to thresholds for SEC registration to shareholder registration requirements.

What’s wrong with taking these steps? Nothing, in particular. But to characterize this as a meaningful effort to lower unemployment is kind of silly. I don’t doubt Republican leaders will be patting themselves on the back this afternoon, passing a bipartisan bill with the word “jobs” in the title, but no one should be fooled.

Those who consider this bill a credible jobs bill probably consider a crumb to be a feast.

“It’s not a jobs solution for our country, it’s not a jobs bill,” said Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who voted for the bill. “In fact, I think the frustration of some is that to a certain extent it represents the spinning of the wheels that has typified this Congress.”

That’s true, though it’ll probably get a signing ceremony.

What passes for a jobs bill in the House

Updated