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Small business investment bill passes House

Pittsburgh Business Times
September 28, 2007

The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed legislation that would increase the flow of venture capital to start-up companies.

The Small Business Investment Expansion Act of 2007 (H.R. 3567) passed by a 325 to 72 vote. The measure, sponsored by McCandless Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire, heads next to the Senate.

In a statement, Altmire said the bill "revamps the SBA's investment programs and ensures that the SBA is an efficient partner in the business development of small firms by improving their access to two vital sources of investment -- venture capital and angel investment."

Proponents say the bill is needed to ensure that small biotech and high-tech firms get the backing they need to survive their long product development time frames and produce crucial drugs and devices.

But critics say the bill gives an unfair advantage to businesses that should no longer qualify for small-business programs, including the Small Business Innovation Research grants that benefit the biotech industry, because they are backed by a deep-pocketed entity.