Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act Of 2006
I would like to thank the Committee on Financial Services chairman, Mr. Oxley, and Ranking Member Frank for moving this important measure through our committee.
Ms. Pryce, the chairwoman on the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade and Technology, and, of course, our ranking member, Mrs. Maloney, who has provided leadership on this issue as well as many other issues, has done a fabulous job on making sure that the members of our committee understood very well the importance of the Ex-Im Bank and how it benefits our entire country and small businesses as well as some large businesses. I thank her for bringing this measure to the floor.
The reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, H.R. 5068, is particularly important in light of our current trade deficit which stands at more than $60 billion. Indeed, we must continue to be proactive in terms of programs that will encourage the expansion of our exports. The export sector of our economy is critical to job creation at the local level.
This bill makes the Ex-Im Bank more relevant in today's global economy, because it better supports U.S. exports. Last year the bank was engaged in more than 3,000 transactions, with an export value of $17.9 billion and returned over $1.7 billion to the Treasury.
This bill should increase the overall level of exports. Of course, I am encouraged by the provisions of the bill related to small businesses. Under the bill, an Office of Small Business is established to be dedicated to small business issues.
Ex-Im needs to be viewed as a resource, not just for large exporters but for small exporters as well. The management of the office of our senior official sends a strong signal to the small business community that small businesses are an important part of the Export-Import equation. Equally important, the office should be required to interface with the U.S. Small Business Administration, which has built an excellent reputation as a repository of information for small exporters.
This reverses a trend that I believe developed as a result of the weakening of policies at the bank that have been in place to encourage the participation of small businesses in our export market, particularly minority-and women-owned business.
During markup of this bill, an amendment that I sponsored had been made part of the bill reported to the full House. It requires the bank to develop performance measures related to minority- and women-owned business programs. This will ensure that the management of Ex-Im Bank is directly involved in developing programs designed to increase participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in Ex-Im Bank programs.
The performance measures will be developed in concert with GAO and will enable Congress to determine how the small business programs for minorities and women that are put in place are performing. In addition, I am pleased that the bill contains a provision to promote increased trade with Africa.