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Miller, Waters Release Legislation to Renew and Reform Export-Import Bank

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Washington, DC, October 14, 2014 | comments
Today, two key lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee unveiled a bipartisan discussion draft of legislation to renew and reform the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank), an agency that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and levels the playing field so that American businesses are able to compete successfully in global markets.

Rep. Gary Miller
 (R-CA), Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Committee and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Committee’s Ranking Member, released the proposal, which extends the Bank’s charter for five years and makes significant reforms to the Bank’s operations and governance that will help reduce taxpayer risk, eliminate opportunities for abuse and place more business with the private sector, among other provisions.

The Bank, which opens up international markets to American exporters, is critical to thousands of U.S. companies, both large and small, that compete against businesses in China, Korea, Brazil and in countries across Europe – all of which have their own version of the Ex-Im Bank. Its role in keeping America competitive and in helping to preserve and create more than a quarter million U.S. jobs has been lauded by a diverse array of interests, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to the AFL-CIO.

In recent months, the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank has come into question, with a number of high-profile lawmakers publicly criticizing the Bank, and some calling for its outright elimination. In September, a stalemate on a long-term renewal led Congress to extend the Bank’s charter for only nine months – through June 2015. In releasing their discussion draft today, Miller and Waters underscored the importance of the Bank in supporting American jobs, indicating the need to reach a bipartisan consensus to provide U.S. exporters certainty that the Bank will continue to serve its essential role over the long-term.  

“This legislation contains a responsible set of reforms that we believe will strengthen the Export-Import Bank and lay the groundwork for a bipartisan agreement that extends the Bank’s charter over the long-term,” said Ranking Member Waters. “Above all, our proposal will ensure the Export-Import Bank is able to sustain American jobs, support our small businesses and bolster the U.S. economy for the next half decade. I thank Vice Chairman Miller for his leadership on this measure, and I urge my colleagues in Congress to carefully consider this legislation as a balanced compromise, the product of months of discussion with all stakeholders, including small businesses from across the country.”

"The Export-Import Bank's support of U.S. businesses is an example of how our government can facilitate job growth without adding to the national debt,” said Vice Chairman Miller, who helped shepherd the Bank's successful 2012 reauthorization as then-Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade.

“Congress must give American businesses the certainty they need to compete in the global markets by passing a multi-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. Ranking Member Waters and I have worked hard to craft legislation that prioritizes taxpayer protection and encourages more private sector commercial bank participation in export financing. While the United States should continue to seek to eliminate all market distorting export financing, we must also recognize the reality that it is in our national interest to help American companies secure sales around the world by making sure they are not undercut by aggressive foreign export credit agencies,” Miller continued.

The legislation sets out a number of reforms designed to protect taxpayers and strengthen the Bank’s accountability and operations.  They include:
  • An enhanced Bank loan-loss reserve fund, which protects taxpayers by requiring the Bank to maintain the resources necessary to cover 95 percent of the losses that could occur under a worst-case scenario, a level significantly above what historical defaults and losses would suggest would ever be needed. 
  • Establishment of a permanent Chief Risk Officer, which is accountable to the Bank’s Board and responsible for all matters relating to managing and mitigating the Bank’s risk, as recommended by the Bank’s Inspector General, including scrutiny of sector concentration risk to ensure that underwriting for individual transactions considers how each transaction affects the overall portfolio risk.
  • Significant anti- fraud and corruption safeguards, which require the Bank to assess the vulnerability of its programs to employee misconduct, issue supplemental ethics guidelines, provide annual ethics and fraud detection training. Additionally, the bill mandates heightened due diligence on customer reputation and integrity assessments, and directs the Bank to reserve the right of inspection of transaction documents.
  • Requirements to publish a business plan within one year, and subsequent business plans every two years thereafter through calendar year 2019.
  • Increases participation of the private sector by encouraging private financial institutions to take on a greater share of risk in the Bank’s long-term guarantee program in exchange for a commensurate share of the fee paid by the Bank’s customers.
  • Establishment of monitoring and assessments of transactions after their approval.
  • Mandates international negotiations with non-OECD countries to bring those foreign competitors into a multilateral agreement establishing rules and limitations on officially supported export credits.

A section-by section summary of the legislation can be found here.

The text of the proposal can be found here.




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