This week, Congress cleared the conference report for a bill (S. 1372) to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for four years. On June 5, the House approved the measure by a vote of 344-78, and the Senate approved it the next day by voice vote. The measure was originally approved by the House on May 1 (see The Source, 5/3/02) and by the Senate on May 9.
In addition to other functions, the final bill would require the bank to conduct outreach to socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses, women-owned businesses, and small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The bank also would be required to report to Congress on such outreach.
The House-passed bill (H.R. 2871) would have required the bank to place an emphasis on “conducting outreach and increasing loans to businesses not less than 51 percent of which are directly and unconditionally owned by 1 or more socially disadvantaged individuals or women” and would have required the bank to report to Congress on that outreach.
The final measure also includes a sense of Congress emphasizing the importance of technology improvement for small businesses. The House-passed bill (H.R. 2871) would have authorized $2 million for outreach to small businesses, but the authorization level was struck from the final bill.
S. 1372 includes a House-passed provision that would require the bank to “implement technology improvements which are designed to improve small business outreach.”