BCA's Washington Briefing

follow us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on youtube April 17, 2015



Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has scheduled the long-awaited first hearings by the full Senate Banking Committee on renewing the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. 


Both hearings scheduled June 2 and June 4 will be at 10 a.m. EDT in Room 538 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The June 2 hearing will be for government witnesses and the June 4 hearing will be for outside witnesses. 


The Bank's charter will expire on June 30 unless Congress extends it. 


The Business Council of Alabama, the National Association of Manufacturing, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urge continued operation of the Ex-Im Bank because it's a vital tool in business options for Alabama and the nation. 


BCA President and CEO William J. Canary in an op-ed outlined why the bank's continued operation is crucial.


"A vote against the Ex-Im Bank is a vote to support sending manufacturing and jobs overseas instead of here at home," Canary wrote. "It's that basic." 


Reuters reported that Republican lawmaker Stephen Fincher of Tennessee believes the bank's charter will be renewed prior to the deadline. Fincher made his comments during a call organized by Exporters for Ex-Im Coalition


Fincher's bill would renew Ex-Im for five more years and make reforms. Lawmakers last fall extended the bank's charter for nine months, temporarily averting a shutdown while they sought a long-term solution, Reuters reported. 


Governor Robert Bentley this week joined 30 other governors urging Congress to renew the bank's charter. 


Please contact your member of Congress and urge them to reauthorize the bank.



The Business Council of Alabama has been monitoring data breach legislation at the state level and is now monitoring federal legislation that has recently been introduced. Federal legislation that would set nationwide data security standards for companies was introduced Thursday by U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Tom Carper, D-Del.


Their legislation would set minimum data breach requirements and instruct companies how to notify customers if a breach occurs, The Hill reported.


State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, introduced SB 106 to deal with data breaches in Alabama. A committee substitute was prepared to address many of the concerns that business has about the bill.

The BCA will continue to work to ensure the bills do not have a negative impact on Alabama's job creators.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute For 21st Century Energy reports that the energy revolution is powering the economy and keeping taxes low. Domestic energy development, production, and generation create billions of dollars in federal, state, and local tax revenue every year. Besides providing tax relief to families and small businesses, the revenue helps pay for education, road construction, first responders, and infrastructure projects, the Chamber said.


The Institute said that the oil and gas industry equates to 7.5 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, with more than $85 million in taxes going to the U.S. Treasury every day.


The industry also provides millions of well-paying jobs and trillions of dollars in private-sector investment. An Institute graphic shows how the industry can boost tax revenue without government red tape that prevents us from moving forward with expanded domestic energy production and infrastructure projects.

An example is the Keystone XL Pipeline that President Obama has vetoed.


Rep. Bradley Byrne Appointed to Powerful House Rules Committee

AL.com (Gore 4/14) "Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, has been appointed to the House Rules Committee, a move that places the Alabama Republican on one of the body's most powerful groups. Among the oldest standing committees in the House, the Rules Committee is tasked with determining how bills come before members and assisting House leadership in scheduling bills for floor action.


"That means committee members, including Byrne, will play a role in [all] legislation set to come before the House. 'I've made clear from the start that I am committed to using my position in Congress to advocate for issues that are important to families and small businesses in Southwest Alabama,' Byrne said in a statement Tuesday. 'As a member of the House Rules Committee, I will be in an even better position to do just that.


"'I look forward to working with Chairman [Pete] Sessions and my colleagues to support a House agenda designed to reduce wasteful spending and create a smaller, more efficient federal government. I look forward to getting to work.' Byrne currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, House Natural Resources Committee and House Education and the Workforce Committee."

Shelby Introduces Flat Tax 

Yellowhammer (Beshears 4/15) "U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) introduced legislation Tuesday that would establish a flat federal tax on income for the first time since the implementation of the IRS. The "Simplified, Manageable, and Responsible Tax (SMART) Act," would tax income at 17 percent, with significant exemptions.


"'On Tax Day, the American people are reminded that our nation's tax code is unnecessarily complex, confusing, and inefficient', said Sen. Shelby in a press release. 'The SMART Act is a straightforward solution that would require taxpayers to only file a simple postcard size return, which would save Americans time and money. The SMART Act would also allow businesses to redirect resources away from tax compliance and instead focus on expanding their businesses and creating jobs'.


The SMART Act would include exemptions of: $14,480 for a single person; $18,490 for a head of household; $28,960 for a married couple filing jointly; and $6,240 for each dependent. These exemptions would be indexed the consumer price index. According to Sen. Shelby, who has introduced similar legislation every Congress since being elected in 1986, the SMART Act would give American individuals and businesses a competitive edge, create and retain jobs in the United States, and curb offshoring.


"As chairman of the Senate Banking committee, Sen. Shelby has the clout to guide the SMART Act to a vote."


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