October 30, 2018 / 9:53 PM / 23 days ago

Leading U.S. House Republican sees no future for capital formation bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill that would make it easier for companies to raise capital and go public appears to be going nowhere in the U.S. Senate, a top Republican lawmaker told Reuters on Tuesday, in what would be a blow to corporate lobbyists pushing for the legislation.

FILE PHOTO: Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) speaks with reporters about the Republican led immigration reform effort on U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

U.S. Representative Patrick McHenry, the House Republican deputy whip, said there had been no progress in the Senate on the “JOBS and Investor Confidence Act of 2018” passed by the House of Representatives in July with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“The bill is not going to happen. It’s not that I don’t want it to pass, but it’s been a very frustrating process getting things through the Senate,” McHenry told Reuters by phone.

House Republicans and Democrats drew up the package to cut red tape for listed companies and make it easier for private companies to raise capital and go public.

The corporate lobby had pushed hard for the changes, arguing the current rules make it difficult for companies to raise capital, hurting the economy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to put the bill to a vote on the Senate floor, but did not say when. So far, moderate Senate Democrats whose votes are needed to get the package passed have failed to publicly back the bill.

Representatives for McConnell and Senator Mike Crapo, whose banking committee is considering the bill in the Senate, did not immediately provide comment.

Time is running out for the Senate, narrowly controlled by Republicans, to hold a vote this Congress, with congressional elections looming on Nov. 6 and the remaining Senate floor time likely to be devoted to nominees.

Pending bills expire this Congress, meaning the House, which is expected by analysts to flip to Democratic control, will have to vote on the bill again next Congress for it to advance.

McHenry, who also serves as vice chairman of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, added he did not have “high hopes” the bill could be passed by the Senate in the next Congress, even if Republicans gain seats in that chamber.

The North Carolina lawmaker is a contender to take over Republican leadership of the Finance Committee, although he told Reuters he would assess his next steps after the elections.

If he became Republican committee leader, McHenry said he would like to focus on financial innovation, housing finance reform and financial inclusion. He added he would push for clearer rules around how companies can raise money by selling cryptocurrencies and other tokens.

Reporting by Katanga Johnson and Michelle Price; Additional reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Peter Cooney

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