BCA's Washington Briefing

follow us on facebook follow us on twitter follow us on youtube July 24, 2015



Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson participated in a White House briefing with President Obama and senior Administration officials this week to discuss the lapse  in authority for the Export-Import Bank of the United States.


Stimpson, the 2010 Chairman of the Business Council of Alabama, was part of the group of 10 small business owners and two mayors who participated in the hour-long meeting.


"I agreed to attend the meeting at the request of the White House so that I could listen and learn about an important issue for our community," Stimpson said after the Wednesday meeting. "I was honored to be invited and I am excited by the national attention that Mobile is receiving. Our city is on the move, and this was an incredible opportunity to continue to spread the good news about Mobile."


BCA President and CEO William J. Canary echoed Stimpson's comments. "The Ex-Im Bank supports significant volumes of shipments through the Port of Mobile," Canary said. "Reauthorizing the Bank's charter is critical for Alabama exporters to remain competitive in global markets," Canary said.


"I can say that the stories we heard from the private sector were very compelling, and there is no question that the failure to re-authorize the Ex-Im Bank would hurt the businesses that rely on it for funding, including several companies in Mobile," Stimpson said.


An amendment reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank was offered Friday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to H.R. 22, the vehicle for the highway bill. Amendment No. 2327, introduced by Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., would reinstate and extend the Ex-Im Bank's charter through Sept. 30, 2019.
A series of roll call votes related to the highway bill are expected to begin on Sunday, July 26, including a vote on Senate Amendment No. 2327 to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.


In addition to President Obama, members of the Administration who attended were Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs; Jeff Zients, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council; and Fred Hochberg, Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

The BCA is a member of Exporters for Ex-Im representing small and large manufacturers that rely on access to competitive export financing to reach customers overseas as well as lending institutions and suppliers. Coalition members include the National Association of manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the BCA's national partners. The BCA is the sole representative of the NAM and the U.S. Chamber in Alabama.


The Senate Finance Committee this week voted overwhelmingly to extend the so-called extender tax breaks that are worth $95 billion to business. The extenders would be good through 2016 as Congress wrangles with tax reform. This would give businesses another two years in which to plan their strategies that include the impact on taxes. The National Association of Manufacturers had "urged Congress to act as soon as possible to extend these provisions for as long as possible, to provide manufacturers with a bridge of certainty to help with business planning decisions until comprehensive tax reform is enacted into law."


The Hill characterized the committee's two-year extension of various provisions as part of a "hodgepodge of expired tax breaks" that tax-writing senators cleared on Tuesday. "All of these tax provisions are meant to be incentives - they are meant to encourage and promote certain activities. If they are expired, they aren't doing much good," Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said. "We need to move this package forward as soon as possible." The desire for swift action, according to The Hill, is shared by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. Final action, however, is unlikely before Congress returns from its month-long August recess.



New Environmental Protection Agency ozone regulations will be finalized this fall, lowering the current standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb) to a level of 65-70 ppb (or even lower). This proposal comes despite the fact that ozone emissions have been cut in half since 1980, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said.


The rule is projected to be the most costly regulation in EPA history and will reduce national GDP by $140 billion annually and eliminate 1.4 million jobs. To make matters worse, the effect on transportation funding could lead to even worse gridlock in your area, the Chamber said.


If the EPA's rule goes as planned, huge parts of the country would immediately violate the new standard. If a state or locality cannot comply with the restrictions, the agency has the authority to impose severe penalties, including withholding federal transportation funding for highway and public transit projects.


The U.S. Chamber's Energy Institute has a new report, "Grinding to a Halt: Examining the Impacts of New Ozone Regulations on Key Transportation Projects. It details why compliance with EPA's tightened standards will be difficult, if not impossible, in many areas of the country-and what could happen as a result.


Cutting off federal transportation funding is a severe penalty that has rarely been used in the past. But if EPA's proposed ozone rule is finalized as proposed, more than 550 counties nationwide are expected to violate the more stringent standard. Because many of these areas will be unable to develop compliance plans that meet EPA's expectations, transportation funding penalties are likely to rise dramatically.

Please educate and mobilize local elected officials and influential stakeholders to pressure the White House into setting the standard at a more reasonable and attainable level by clicking here.


Obama: Renewing Ex-Im is a 'no-brainer' for Congress

The Hill (Fabian 7/22) "President Obama on Wednesday called on Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, arguing its lapse has hurt American businesses both big and small.  'We can't have American workers losing jobs because Congress doesn't act or because of some ideological arguments that don't make any sense [and] don't match up with the facts', Obama said during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room with small-business owners affected by the bank's expiration.


"Obama added it was a 'shame' Congress allowed the bank's charter to expire and said 'it's a no-brainer' to renew it. The White House is ramping up pressure on Congress to renew the Ex-Im bank before lawmakers leave for August recess. The bank, which provides loan guarantees to businesses shipping their goods to overseas markets, saw its charter lapse June 30 due to congressional inaction.

"The White House on Wednesday said it is urging the senators to include a measure renewing the bank on a must-pass highway bill. 'As this legislation gets put together, we certainly would like to see and would insist upon the inclusion of the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank', press secretary Josh Earnest said."

Business Groups Unload on Financial Adviser Rule

The Hill (Cirilli 7/20) "Business groups are flooding the zone with criticism of President Obama's proposed regulations for financial advisers. Advocates for industry are lining up to bash the new regulations, known as 'fiduciary standards', arguing the more stringent disclosure requirements for advisers will have a host of negative consequences for the country.


"The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) were among the K Street heavyweights that denounced the proposal on Monday, the day before the Department of Labor's comment period for the proposal was set to close. Their criticism, while wide-ranging, centered on one idea: that the proposed requirements would raise the costs of obtaining financial advice for low- and middle-income Americans who need it the most.


"Obama and liberal supports of the fiduciary push argue the requirements are needed to protect consumers from unscrupulous financial advisers who scam customers by selling faulty advice while pocketing hefty commissions. One element of the plan that is particularly contentious is the lead role of the Labor Department. Industry groups say the proposal should be under the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has traditionally been the lead regulator for the financial services industry.


"The Chamber's comment letter called the proposal a 'jurisdictional land-grab'. 'The Department should not attempt to supersede the financial regulations developed over decades ... with a new, untested, one-size-fits-all federal regulation that tells people what kind of retirement advisor they may have', the Chamber letter said.

"The Chamber has said repeatedly called the draft of the proposal 'unworkable'. 'Unfortunately, the Department has chosen an approach that is unduly complicated and wrought with serious defects for this regulatory initiative. Indeed, the result is an unworkable rule that ultimately harms American investors and retirees', The Chamber said in its comment letter to DOL."


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