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From the State House- March 4
Last week I traveled to frozen Washington, D.C. for the “Exporters for Ex-Im Fly-In.” I joined more than 600 business leaders from around the country to lobby on behalf of reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im)
. This issue is important to every member our business community for two reasons:
- Ex-Im is of critical importance to Boeing South Carolina and their ability to successfully compete with global aircraft manufacturers. In North Charleston, eight of every 10 of the 787s being assembled in South Carolina are eligible for Ex-Im financing. If Ex-Im is shut down, Boeing will lose their competitive edge – a fact that could impact the more than local 8,000 jobs.
- Secondly, and just as important, Ex-Im supports the growth of small business. The Chamber’s World Trade Center Charleston (WTCC) is directly tied to Ex-Im. As an Ex-Im partner, the WTCC can provide additional resources in trade finance expertise to businesses interested in exporting their products and services.
On Wednesday, I was part of a group of 10 people from South Carolina who met with the staff and members of the S.C. Congressional delegation. One of the most vocal proponents of the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization is Senator Lindsay Graham, who is currently working to add sponsors for his Export Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2015
. Senator Graham’s Act would extend the bank’s authority from June 30, 2015 until September 30, 2019, while making several reforms to the bank’s structure to ensure taxpayers are protected while allowing the bank to continue it’s important mission.
Senator Graham’s staff briefed our group on the legislation, which should be introduced in the next few weeks. Senator Richard Shelby from Alabama, Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, has promised two hearings for the Ex-Im reauthorization which are currently scheduled in April. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is planning a week of floor debates on the reauthorization legislation in May.
Our team will continue to update you as this important legislation progresses. I was very impressed as I came away from the visit with our elected leaders. We are lucky to have the leadership and support from our entire regional delegation; Senators Graham and Scott as well as Congressmen Clyburn and Sanford.
Read Chamber's Export-Import Bank Position Paper
Snow Day in Columbia!
The South Carolina House and Senate cancelled the legislative session and all meetings on Thursday due to inclement weather in the Upstate. There was no significant movement on our legislative priorities last week with the 2015-2016 budget in the forefront for the SC House.
Look for more activity this week as the House completes the budget and the Senate begins to hold committee meetings on transportation funding.