September 30, 1997
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.