After months of laying off the judiciary issue, the Senate is now expected bring up the judicial nominations of D.C. Circuit Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and 4th Circuit nominee Terrence Boyle.
Republicans hope to hold votes that will put political pressure on key Democrats. The strategy of filibustering judicial nominations has been disastrous for Democrats so far, and in key Senate races — especially in heartland states such as Minnesota, Michigan and Ohio — their intransigence could be a good issue for Republicans, even if confirmations prove impossible.
Republican senators, hoping to reform the Sarbanes-Oxley law so that it is less burdensome for businesses, are courting Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) to co-sponsor a bill that would loosen the law’s audit requirements for small and medium-sized businesses. Bayh is respected among Democrats, holds a seat on the Banking Committee and is running for President. By participating in this tweaking of the Sarbanes-Oxley law, he would reassure the business community that he is a friend.
The bill, to be proposed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), represents an attempt to gather the low-hanging fruit of Sarbanes-Oxley reform rather than attempt a comprehensive reform or repeal. The idea is to provide guidelines for audits that will cut back on the expense of a comprehensive audit, as well as to let small and medium-sized companies (below $700 million in market capitalization) opt out of the onerous Section 404 and instead participate in an alternative set of rules.
Of particular concern is the dramatic shift by foreign companies away from going public in the United States and, instead, toward raising their investor capital in foreign countries. The Wall Street Journal has reported that whereas nine of every 10 dollars raised by foreign companies in 2000 was raised on the New York exchanges, nine of 10 in 2005 were raised outside the United States. Although this has partly to do with the increasing sophistication of foreign exchanges, it has mostly to do with Sarbanes-Oxley.
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