CONGRESSMAN BISHOP HAILS PASSAGE OF HIGHWAY FUNDING & EX-IM BANK REAUTHORIZATION
WASHINGTON D.C. – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) joined with 359 Democratic and Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives to adopt the conference agreement on H.R. 22, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act -- a measure that reauthorizes $281 billion in guaranteed funding for highway, bridge, transportation safety, and public transit projects for the next five years.
“While the bill significantly increases funding needed to repair and rebuild our aging system of roads and bridges, it only puts the effort in gear and on the road,” said Congressman Bishop. “Future transportation legislation must take our crumbling infrastructure seriously and find a long-term, sustainable source of funding for highways, bridges, and transit to fully address this challenge while strengthening our economy in the process.”
The measure also reauthorizes the critically important Export-Import Bank for four years, which helps American workers and businesses compete in the global economy. In the Second Congressional District from 2014 to 2015, the Export-Import Bank reported an authorization of $51 million to provide insurance policies, loan guarantees, or direct loans to facilitate exports. It further reported that $98 million has been disbursed in total insured shipments, guaranteed credit, or disbursed loan amounts supported by Ex-Im Bank. The total dollar value of exports related to Ex-Im Bank's authorized financing was $382 million. Ex-Im financing went to four exporters in the Second Congressional District, all of which are small businesses. Recipients include; Swift Spinning in Columbus, Thrush Aircraft in Albany; Grid Power Products in Macon; and Easterlin Pecan Company in Montezuma.
“Here in the Second District alone, some 4,000 jobs are directly related to the financing provided by the Ex-Im Bank,” said Congressman Bishop. “It is vital that the U.S. companies and workers are competitive in a global economy, so today’s win is a boon for all American jobs, small businesses, and our rural communities.”
Since 2009, Ex-Im programs have supported about $217 billion in U.S. exports and 1.3 million private-sector jobs. Last fiscal year, Ex-Im supported an estimated $27.5 billion in exports and 164,000 jobs nationwide. Nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im’s FY 2014 transactions were for the direct benefit of small businesses. Ex-Im’s loan and loan guarantee programs help to fill gaps in private-sector financing, which is particularly important during financial crises, when credit can dry up. Ex-Im’s authorizations tripled between 2007 and 2012, as the bank stepped in to support U.S. exports during the recession and in its immediate aftermath. Ex-Im does not cost taxpayers a dime. In fact, since 1992, investments made by Ex-Im have brought a profit of $7 billion to the Treasury, including $675 million last year.
Offsets within H.R. 22 cover the cost of reversing a $3 billion cut to crop insurance made as part of November's two-year budget deal placing a cap on the overall rate of return for private insurers of crop insurance.
Groups supporting H.R. 22 include the American Farm Bureau Federation, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia Transportation Alliance, National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, National Cotton Council, Business Roundtable, National Association of Manufacturers, AFL-CIO, International Union of Operating Engineers, North America’s Building Trades Unions, American Public Transportation Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, and others.
The conference agreement H.R. 22 was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 359 to 65 and now goes to the President for signature. For more information on the Export-Import Bank activity in Middle and Southwest Georgia, please click here.