BCA's Washington Briefing

follow us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on youtube June 5, 2015



The Business Council of Alabama's national partners testified Tuesday before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on the importance of the U.S. Export-Import Bank of the United States. The committee is chaired by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.


"The Committee will then consider next steps as the Bank's current authorization nears expiration," Shelby said.


John Murphy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce's senior vice president for international policy, and Linda Dempsey, the National Association of Manufacturing's senior vice president of international economic affairs, were witnesses at Tuesday's hearing.


Murphy said businesses need the bank because commercial banks often refuse to accept foreign receivables as collateral for a loan without Ex-Im Bank guarantee.


Murphy said unless the Ex-Im Bank's charter is extended beyond the current charter's June 30 expiration date, many small businesses will be unable to extend loan terms to foreign buyers and would have to demand cash in advance.


"For these small businesses, Ex-Im isn't just nice to have," Murphy testified. "It's indispensable."


Dempsey highlighted the importance of Ex-Im reauthorization for small businesses.


"Ex-Im is critical," Dempsey said. "Of the bank's 33,000 small business transactions in Fiscal Year 2014, 545 companies were first-time Ex-Im users. Small businesses are direct Ex-Im users and many suppliers to larger U.S. exporters. If Ex-Im is closed, small business exporters would feel it first."


The Chamber along with the NAM helped coordinate a letter signed by 1,053 businesses and business associations that was sent Wednesday to members of Congress.


The letter that was signed by the Business Council of Alabama urges immediate and long-term bank reauthorization.


The letter went to Congress as the Senate Banking Committee conducted Ex-Im Bank hearings on Tuesday and Thursday. "U.S. businesses of all sizes would be deprived of a vital financing source at a time when boosting exports is increasingly vital to growing our nation's economy and jobs," the letter states.


The vital Ex-Im Bank helps grow U.S. exports and increases American jobs. The bank is the official export credit agency of the United States and assists U.S. export financing for thousands of American companies including more than 80 in Alabama. The bank does not cost taxpayers and actually makes a profit for the government. In 2014, the Ex-Im Bank supported $27.5 billion of U.S. exports.


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



The Business Council of Alabama has written members of Alabama's congressional delegation urging support of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015.


It would renew Trade Promotion Authority, a vital component for American businesses because economic growth and job creation at home depend on our ability sell American goods and services to 95 percent of the world's customers that live outside the United States.


One in four American manufacturing jobs depends on exports, and one in three acres on American farms is planted for consumers overseas. Nearly 40 million American jobs depend on trade.


In Alabama, trade plays a big role in our economy. Trade supports more than half a million jobs in the state, and our exports of goods and services last year reached $23 billion. Trade is especially important for Alabama's small businesses, more than 3,200 of which are exporters.


By creating a level playing field, trade agreements help U.S. companies and the workers they employ compete in overseas markets and support 5 million American jobs. To expand these benefits, the United States is negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement with 11 other Asia-Pacific nations, including some of the world's fastest growing economies.


The United States is also negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union, the largest market for U.S. business. But to make these growth-driving trade agreements a reality, Congress must first approve Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).


The logic of trade is simple. Without TPA, the United States cannot negotiate new trade agreements to open foreign markets, spur economic growth, and create American jobs. Without TPA, our standard of living and our standing in the world will suffer.



EPA Says Water Injection Extraction Does No Harm

The HILL (Cama 6/4) "Hydraulic fracturing has not caused any major harm to drinking water  supplies, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded Thursday. In what the EPA is calling the most comprehensive examination of existing data and science on the impact the controversial oil and natural gas drilling technique has on drinking water, it largely debunked concerns about  extensive contamination of well water  or other sources.


"And while the draft  report released Thursday is largely a win for industry, which has said for years that fracking is completely safe, the EPA recognized some 'potential vulnerabilities in the water  lifecycle that could impact drinking water'. 'EPA's draft assessment will give state regulators, tribes and local communities and industry around the country a critical resource to identify how best to protect public health and their drinking water resources', Thomas A. Burke, an EPA science adviser and top official in its research office, said in a statement.


"Fracking is the main force behind the oil and gas renaissance seen in recent years in the United States, lea ding it to become the top gas producer in the world and putting it on a course to top oil producer. 'After more than five years and millions of dollars, the  evidence gathered  by EPA confirms  what the agency has already acknowledged and what the oil and gas industry  has known', Erik Milito, director of upstream operations at the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement."


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