Congresswoman Terri Sewell Says Export-Import Bank Is Crucial for Alabama Business Foreign Trade Transactions

MONTGOMERY – U.S. Rep. Terry Sewell of Birmingham today told a Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs and Issues breakfast audience that she supports reauthorization of the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

Reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank, as it’s called, is a high-priority item for the Business Council of Alabama and the national organizations that the BCA represents in Alabama. The BCA is part of the Ex-Im Bank support alliance that includes the U.S. Chamber and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Congress last month extended the bank’s charter until June 30, 2015, but Sewell and others seek to extend the bank’s charter for five full years.

“The Ex-Im Bank is a wonderful opportunity for small businesses to export goods and services abroad,” Sewell said. “Many small businesses benefit from the bank.”

The Ex-Im Bank, an independent, self-supporting government agency, sells credit insurance for foreign transactions when commercial insurance isn’t available. And it makes money for the U.S. Treasury.

From 2007 to 2014, the bank backed $788 million in Alabama exports for 82 different companies, supporting 4,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Most of the transactions involved small businesses. In 2013, the bank backed $37.4 billion worth of U.S. trade.

Sewell, a Democrat representing the 7th Congressional District and who is in a second term, serves on the House Financial Services Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and subcommittees on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises, Domestic and International Monetary Policy and Trade, and Technical and Tactical Intelligence.

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., the committee’s vice chairman, introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday to extend the bank’s charter for five years, add oversight changes, and allow more private-sector financing.

President Obama said he supports reauthorization of the bank’s charter and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzer said she supports the bank’s extension as well.

Sewell also spoke about business development, the Affordable Care Act, challenges facing her district, military readiness, and Veterans Administration hospital accountability.

-Dana Beyerle