The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 1370, which reauthorizes the
Export-Import Bank for fiscal years 1998 through 2001. The Administration has
concerns, however, with two sections of the bill and will work with Congress to
ensure that the legislation is amended to address these concerns.
Specifically, the Administration has concerns with section 9, which requires
the Bank to establish procedures to ensure that firms committed to job creation
and reinvestment in the United States be given preference for receiving
financial assistance. The Bank is dedicated to the preservation and expansion
of U.S. jobs. In pursuing this goal, the Bank provides guarantees and loans to
creditworthy foreign buyers of U.S. goods. Therefore, the Bank evaluates
foreign buyers not U.S. firms. Because it is the foreign buyer that chooses
the exporting company, the Bank is not in a position to decide if the U.S. firm
has made the commitment called for in the bill.
The Administration also has concerns about section 5, which would have the
effect of statutorily selecting the Bank's ethics official. This selection
would undermine the effectiveness of the Executive branch ethics program by
eliminating one of its basic requirements, i.e., that the agency head is
ultimately responsible for the conduct of the agency's employees.