July 15, 2014

Manchin prepares to introduce banking bill | Charleston Daily Mail

It’s already difficult for many small businesses to break into the global marketplace, and without the Export-Import Bank, it could become harder.

That’s part of the reason why Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has prepared a bill to reauthorize the bank, whose charter expires in September. Part of the bank’s mission is to help support U.S. companies exporting to other countries.

“If you think about it, if you’re a small business in West Virginia, you don’t have the expertise or have lawyers with expertise in international trade and banking so you’re going to be very, very cautious about sending your product overseas and not knowing how to collect your money if you don’t get paid,” Manchin said.

That gamble often deters small business from breaking into the export market.

Last month, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette honored dozens of West Virginia small businesses that expanded into new market places last year.

“We have companies all over the state of West Virginia exporting to foreign countries,” Burdette said at the June 24 event. “While that may not seem unusual, it’s a very big market as 70 percent of consumers are outside of the United States. We’ve been very focused on trying to get more and more West Virginia companies to pursue exporting.”

Manchin said the bank makes it easier for companies, especially small businesses, to expand their global footprints. His bill would reauthorize the bank for five years and increase its credit exposure limit to $160 billion, an increase from the $140 billion limit agreed to in 2012. But according to the Wall Street Journal, some Republicans want to do away with the bank, saying its support amounts to “crony capitalism.” Others support reauthorization, but want to make changes to limit taxpayer risk.

Manchin, on the other hand, said the bank is a positive, not a negative, for taxpayers.

“This export-import federal government-backed bank returned $1 billion profit to the treasury,” he said. “They help my tax situation in America. It didn’t hurt it. They have that type of track record and responsibility we’re looking for.”

Manchin’s proposal to reauthorize the bank gained national attention last week, partly because the bill also seeks to roll back restrictions on coal-fired power plants overseas. Currently, the bank requires such plants in most countries seeking bank financing to capture carbon dioxide from smokestacks and store it in an underground reservoir in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. In underdeveloped countires, however, the rules differ slightly. Those countries are required to use the cleanest technology available. Manchin’s proposed bill would expand that group.

“The way its been done before, but what I think is wrong is first of all there are 8 billion tons of coal being burned in the world, 7 billion tons burned outside of America,” Manchin said. “Why we would limit the amount of technology we have … if there’s going to be coal-fired plants burning around the world using American technology, why shouldn’t we mandate they use the technology we use in America?

“If you want to clean up the climate you should use the best technology,” he added. “Why they want to eliminate that and say we’re not going to finance in developed nations any coal plants, if they had the technology why wouldn’t we? We all benefit from it. We’re all going to use the coal anyway.”

Manchin said he hopes to introduce his bill before the end of the week. So far, two Republicans — Sens. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo. -- have signed on. Manchin said he anticipates more bipartisan support prior to the bill’s introduction. Manchin’s goal is to have the bill through the Senate by the end of the month. 

Source: Whitney Burdette