Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). (Alex Wong/GETTY IMAGES)

The Senate Thursday approved legislation making it easier for small businesses to access investment capital and sent it back to the House for swift final approval.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) passed 73 to 26 two weeks after the House overwhelmingly approved it by a wide bipartisan margin.

The legislation, backed by the White House, would lift Securities and Exchange Commission restrictions on running advertisements soliciting new investors and permit “crowdfunding” so that entrepreneurs can raise equity capital from larger pools of small investors. Small private companies also would be able to sell up to $50 million in shares as part of a public offering before having to register with the SEC, and could have as many as 1,000 shareholders, up from the current cap of 500.

Senate Democrats, however, successfully amended the bill to include additional safeguards on “crowdfunding” to prevent against credit scams.

Despite those changes, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he plans to hold a final vote on the bill early next week so that President Obama can then quickly sign it into law.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama “is grateful that the Senate acted in a bipartisan way” to approve the bill and urged the House to pass it.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

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