Lawmakers in the U.S. House continue working on legislation, the Securing American Jobs Through Exports Act of 2011 (H.R. 2072), to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) which currently is set to expire Sept. 30, 2011. On the other side of the Capitol, NSBA’s David Ickert, of Air Tractor, Inc. in Olney, Texas, was invited to testify before a subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee on the need to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank in a manner that ensures a focus on growing export opportunities for small businesses.
Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization
In early June, legislation to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank through Sept. 30, 2015, H.R. 2072, was introduced and referred to the House Financial Services Committee. On June 22, 2011, the full committee approved the bill and ordered it to be reported favorably to the House floor for consideration.
During deliberation, SBEA joined several other associations in sending a letter to House Financial Services Committee Chair Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and his fellow committee members urging their full support for the reauthorization of Ex-Im, as the Bank’s charter expires on Sept. 30, 2011.
Introduced by House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade Chairman Gary Miller (R-Calif.), the bill reauthorizes the activities and operations of Ex-Im Bank and increases its limits on outstanding loans, guarantees, and insurance to $160 billion over three years, increasing it at $20 billion per year up to $160 billion in total exposure. The current limit is $100 billion.
NSBA and SBEA are working to ensure that reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank is done in a timely manner and includes language ensuring Ex-Im Banks’ continued focus on growing small-business exports.
Last week, David Ickert, National Small Business Association (NSBA) treasurer and past chair of the Small Business Exporters Association (SBEA) testified before. Ickert, of Air Tractor, Inc. in Olney, Texas, has been an outspoken advocate for growing export opportunities for small businesses, and testified about the importance of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) to facilitate such growth.
“Our work with Ex-Im has enabled Air Tractor to expand beyond U.S. borders and build a strong, diverse clientele overseas,” stated Ickert. “Ex-Im made it possible for us to sell our agricultural and firefighting airplanes globally, which continues to be a win-win for us and our clients.”
Ickert went on to praise Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred P. Hochberg for his efforts to maintain focus on, and craft a long-term commitment to small business. This, however, has not always been the case, and as such, Ickert—along with SBEA and NSBA—are urging Congress to continue to institutionalize the Ex-Im small-business commitment. Specifically, any Ex-Im Bank reauthorizing language ought to expressly state that not less than 20 percent of Ex-Im’s direct financing authority shall be used specifically for small business.
Other small-business provisions critical for inclusion in Ex-Im reauthorization legislation include: a mandate that the Advisory Committee includes at least three small-business representatives; a requirement that Ex-Im Bank officials shall report to Congress if the small-business financing minimum isn’t met; an appointment of the Senior Vice President for Small Business to Ex-Im Bank’s credit committee; and the approval of adequate administrative dollars to address the growing need for Ex-Im products and assistance.
Please click here to read Ickert’s full testimony.