BCA's Washington Briefing

follow us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on youtube March 27, 2015

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Urged by the Business Council of Alabama and more than 100 other business, manufacturing, and chamber of commerce groups, the House Judiciary Committee this week approved the "Responsibly and Professionally Invigorating Development (RAPID) Act of 2015."


The BCA was one of 115 groups to sign a multi-industry letter to the House Judiciary Committee in support of H.R. 348, the RAPID Act. It was approved 15-11 by the committee on Tuesday.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the multi-industry letter urging support for the RAPID Act was essential to impress upon the Judiciary Committee how much support there is for permit streamlining.


The Chamber said that 351 stalled energy projects reviewed in one 2010 study had a total economic value of over $1 trillion and represented 1.9 million American jobs that were not created. The 2010 study, Project No Project, showed that in the energy sector alone, one year of delay translates into millions of jobs not created.


In addition, by a vote of 20-11 on Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 712, the "Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2015." This important act would bring transparency and accountability to the "sue and settle" practice that allows unlimited challenges by opponents of development, jobs, and progress, the Chamber said. Sue and settle also can escape congressional oversight when administrations settle "friendly" lawsuits filed by like-minded plaintiffs. 


The BCA is the exclusive representative in Alabama of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.



State leaders across the country are rallying to voice support for an extension of the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is among the supporters of extending the bank's charter.


In July, Bentley joined 30 other state and territory governors to urged Congress to extend the bank's charter beyond the June 30 expiration date. Last month Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Missouri Gov. Jeremiah W. "Jay" Nixon (D) sent letters in support of the reauthorization.


On March 10, the National Association of Counties (NACo) wrote Congress: "The Ex-Im Bank helps American businesses of all sizes export their goods and services abroad to compete in the global market, stimulate job creation and contribute to the growth of local and state economies."


On Feb. 25, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) wrote Congress: "As mayors of cities that count exports as a crucial contributor to our U.S. economy, we urge you to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) of the United States before its charter expires on June 30, 2015. Without support from the Export-Import Bank, businesses in cities nationwide will face little or no financing alternatives, putting U.S. jobs in jeopardy."


On Feb. 23, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) sent a letter to Congress: "The usefulness of successful programs such as Ex-Im's City/State Partners Program would be threatened if Ex-Im's authorization or lending authority lapses."


Click here to view the BCA fact sheet on why the Ex-Im Bank is critical for Alabama businesses. We also have resource page on the BCA website. 

Support Ex-Im on Twitter -  

U.S. Chamber also has a resource page dedicated to Ex-Im reauthorization.


U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, has been named the National Association of Development Organizations' (NADO) Legislator of the Year.


"It is such an honor to be chosen as NADO's Legislator of the Year," Aderholt said. "NADO and its local members have done and are doing so much to improve the lives of people across the 4th District and across our nation."

Aderholt said local development organizations play a vital role in creating economic growth and economic opportunity. "Whether it's working to make sure that all levels of government stay on the same page, assisting communities in grant preparation, or developing a regional plan to ensure long-term growth, NADO organizations make a tangible difference every day of the year," he said.


House, Senate Pass 2016 Budget

AL.com (Gore 3/26), POLITICO (Kim, Bade 3/26) "The U.S. House has passed the Republican version of the 2016 budget. The measure, which passed on a vote of 228-199, received the support of every Republican from the Alabama delegation. Included in the budget is $96 billion for the Pentagon's war fund, almost a $40 billion increase over the White House's proposal.


"All told, the House Budget Resolution sets defense spending at $619 billion. The measure would also balance the budget in nine years by cutting $5.5 trillion in spending over the next 10 years. It does not, however, repeal sequestration; the across-the-board cuts that military leaders said are having a huge impact on operations. The budget also calls for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cuts to Medicare.


"Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said while 'not ideal,' the increased war fund will allow the Pentagon to overcome sequestration limits. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, echoed Roby's sentiments that while the budget is not perfect, it does help turn the country in the right direction. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, said he's pleased the bill ensures enough defense spending to help offset sequestration cuts. He also praised the provisions to balance the budget. Rep. Bradley Byrne said the House budget is in 'stark contrast to President Barack Obama's spending-filled' proposal.


"Senate Republicans corralled enough votes from fiscal conservatives and defense hawks to pass their budget on Friday, scoring a win for the new GOP majority and setting the stage for high-stakes negotiations with the House over a final budget deal. After a marathon voting session that stretched into the morning hours on Friday, the Senate passed its spending blueprint, 52-46. (Alabama's two senators, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, voted for the budget.)


"'The Democrat-led Senate for years refused not only to pass a balanced budget, but any budget at all', Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said following the vote. 'Those days are over, and the proof is passage of a balanced plan with ideas that Congress' nonpartisan analysts tell us would boost jobs, raise income and drive economic growth'."


House Passes Boehner-Pelosi Medicare Deal in Resounding Vote

The HILL (Sullivan, Marcos 3/26) "The House on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to repeal automatic cuts to doctors under Medicare, endorsing a rare bipartisan deal that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) negotiated with Democrats. The bill, which passed by a vote of 392-37, puts Congress on the precipice of ending a nearly two-decades fight over a formula known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).


"Since 2003, lawmakers have put off cuts under the Medicare formula 17 times, perennially punting the solution through short-term 'fixes' that, over time, ran up the cost of abolishing the formula to nearly $200 billion.


"Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have been in negotiations over the measure since January, and worked quietly to bring their members behind it. Only 33 Republicans and 4  Democrats voted against the bill. But while the mood in the House was celebratory, the fate of the legislation in the Senate remains unclear.

"Senate Democrats have given the bill a frosty reception, raising concerns about abortion language and the length of an extension for a children's insurance program. But some Democratic senators appeared to be warming up to the deal on Wednesday, and President Obama gave it a strong endorsement, saying he has his 'pen ready' to sign it."



US Chamber of Commerce   National Association of Manufacturers
Sixth District
 U. S. Rep. Gary Palmer