Getting our economy moving again has been one of Howard's top priorities in Congress. He knows that job growth is largest in new companies, and that the biggest problem faced by today's small businesses is fewer customers with less money to spend.
Small businesses face special problems compared with large businesses: they have tighter profit margins and less room for mistakes, they have less access to credit markets and, even with excellent credit records, many are not getting the loans they need. Small manufacturers have less access to export markets, and, with emerging economies growing faster than advanced economies, that's a big disadvantage.
So he has cosponsored legislation to increase lending to small businesses, including expanding the ability of credit unions to make small business member loans, and he's supported Small Business Administration lending programs, including 7(a) loan guarantees, disaster loans, and Small Business Innovation Research loans.
In addition to pushing for increased lending to small businesses, Howard is working to help California businesses access those export markets for their products overseas. He authored the American Export Promotion and Job Creation Act to help coordinate export promotion programs to make U.S. products more competitive in foreign markets. Howard also authored legislation to enhance the promotion of American-made clean energy technology in other countries.
His bill, the "Satellite Trade and Security Act of 2001″ is designed to strengthen the competitiveness of the U.S. satellite industry and enhance national security by preventing the unauthorized transfer of sensitive satellite-related technology. This legislation will protect the domestic manufacture of satellites and promote the sale abroad of these American products, creating jobs for Los Angeles County and the San Fernando Valley.
Howard has been a strong supporter of improving our infrastructure to help businesses more efficiently move goods. He secured funding for improvements to the I-405, and for street repairs and other projects that facilitate transportation and help attract consumers and businesses to the San Fernando Valley.
Howard also secured funding for the Valley Economic Development Center's Community Federal Credit Union, bringing banking services to low and middle income families, many for the first time.
From his first days in Congress, Howard has worked to protect and advance the entertainment industry. The media business, with filmmaking at its core, pumps tens of billions of dollars into the Los Angeles economy every year, and directly employs several hundred thousand people in the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles studios and soundstages. Entertainment is a hugely global industry, with giant overseas markets and an impact on people in practically every corner of the globe.
Howard was among the first Members of Congress to wage war on "runaway production," with its loss of entertainment industry jobs. To compete against the many foreign countries offering tax incentives to lure film production companies to their shores, Howard worked tirelessly to pass an incentive to stay in America. He was instrumental in passing through Congress Section 181 of the Internal Revenue Code which expedites tax write-offs for independent film production and television show costs. He is also the author of numerous important anti-piracy bills to protect the intellectual property of Southern California's creative community.