EXPORT-IMPORT BANK REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2006 -- (House of Representatives - December 06, 2006)
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Mrs. BIGGERT. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, I rise today to urge the immediate passage of Senate 3938, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2006. A compromise between the Senate-passed product and the House version, H.R. 5068, introduced by my friend from Ohio (Ms. Pryce), this is an excellent bill that deserves broad and deep support.
Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to see this bill on the floor today. The House and Senate versions both enjoyed broad bipartisan support in committee and in floor consideration, and it seems to me that this bill makes a number of important reforms to the way Ex-Im operates that we all can be very proud of.
First and foremost, Madam Speaker, this bill firmly establishes congressional intent that the bank should focus its attention on increasing exports by small businesses. The bank does a tremendous job of supporting exports by large corporations and will continue to do so. But small businesses often have had a difficult time navigating the intricate and unfamiliar waters of loan guarantees and insurance offered by the bank.
This bill establishes a small business division within the bank staffed by specialists on small business operations. More importantly, it authorizes the small business specialist to approve loans, guarantees and insurance on some projects quickly so that the U.S. small businesses will not be aced out of international competition by another country's export credit agency that moves faster to cement the deal.
The bill also establishes a special office to serve small businesses owned by women and the economically disadvantaged and expresses the congressional view that Ex-Im should have an office that focuses on exports of renewable energy technology, an area where the U.S. can excel as a world leader.
Finally, this bill establishes a number of new reporting regimes and reorganizes others so that Congress can better monitor and perform oversight on Ex-Im operations, a job some have felt to be difficult in the past.
In our increasingly competitive global environment, we must ensure that we can provide every advantage and eliminate every obstacle for U.S. businesses to win the sale over foreign competitors. This is a bill that all Members can be proud of and will increase U.S. exports, and thus U.S. employment in a responsible manner.
I want to thank Chairman Oxley and Ranking Member Frank for their strong support in guiding this bill. They, along with Mrs. Maloney, Mr. Manzullo and Ms. Velázquez, joined me as original cosponsors with Chairman PRYCE, and all were helpful, as well as Chairman Shelby and Ranking Member Sarbanes and Senator Crapo in the Senate.
I would also like to thank the staff who worked on this bill: Chairman PRYCE's former staff member, Jackie Moran; Scott Morris of Mr. Frank's staff; and Eleni Constantine from Mrs. Maloney's staff. Also Gregg Richard on the staff of the Senate bill's sponsor, Senator Crapo, was instrumental in passage, and I will note we trained him well when he worked here in the House, as well as Andrew Olmen from Senator Shelby's staff and Steve Kroll for Senator Sarbanes.
With that, Madam Speaker, I urge immediate passage of this bill and reserve the balance of my time.
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