Business & Economy

House passes bill giving large Israeli investors temporary visas

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The House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill today that makes it easier for Israeli investors to open businesses in the U.S., and at least one L.A. congressman predicts that much of that new money will come to Southern California.

Congressman Howard Berman says 79 countries are already eligible for the so-called E-2 temporary visa.

"All we’re doing is putting Israel in the same place as the United Kingdom or Togo," Berman said.

The visa allows Israelis who have invested “a substantial amount” in the U.S. to come here to manage their money.

The Democrat from Van Nuys says he sponsored the measure with his constituents in mind. Berman says there's "no doubt that Los Angeles will be the focus of this activity."

The measure drew bipartisan support in an election year when politicians are often courting Jewish voters, but Congressman Berman says the vast majority in Congress recognize the wisdom of voting for the visa not as a favor to Israel, but because of the jobs it will create in the U.S.