Obama signs bill that aims to help small businesses, startups

WASHINGTON - (AP) - President Barack Obama signed bipartisan jobs legislation Thursday that will help small businesses and make it easier for startups to raise capital, saying it could be a "game-changer" for entrepreneurs dreaming of founding the next Microsoft or Facebook. "When their ideas take root, we get inventions that can change the way we live," Obama said in the Rose Garden, flanked by lawmakers of both parties who backed the bill. "And when their businesses take off, more people become employed." He said the initiatives in the bill paralleled many of the provisions that he sought last fall in his jobs agenda to encourage small-business growth. Republicans, who promoted the pro-small business ideas in the House, joined Obama at the signing ceremony, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., whose seat has been targeted by Democrats, also looked on as Obama signed the bill into law. "This bill represents exactly the kind of bipartisan action we should be taking in Washington to help our economy," Obama said. Cantor, speaking to reporters after the ceremony, said the bill was aimed at "the problem that we face in America today which is that our economy is lagging and our small businesses are having too hard of a time getting up off the ground." Some Democrats, however, raised concerns that the bill softened investment protections enacted after the dot.com excesses and Wall Street meltdowns and the changes could lead to fraud and abuse.

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