Josette Burns

Congress is Back...Briefly

Josette Burns |

After a five-week summer break and with about two weeks to spare, Congress will look to pass a continuing resolution (CR) appropriations bill by September 30 to avoid a federal government shutdown. The House and Senate chambers have made it clear that a CR is more than likely the only piece of legislation that will be approved before midterm elections. However, a couple non-spending items, that are of particular interest to small businesses could also be included.

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization

One of the non-spending measures receiving attention is the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank). Over its 80 year lifespan, Ex-Im Bank has been reauthorized by Congress 16 times. The Ex-Im Bank works with brokers and lenders to ensure businesses, both large and small, have what they need to export and import their products and allow the small business community to be competitive in the international market. Ex-Im Bank does not compete with the private sector and is designed to help small businesses expand and create jobs, tackle new markets, and compete globally by providing financial mechanisms such as working capital financing, export-credit insurance and financial guarantees.

Over the past five years, Ex-Im Bank has financed more small business exports than ever before, a near 90 percent in FY 2013, generated $2 billion for U.S. taxpayers, and supported 1.2 million American jobs all at the cost of $0 for the U.S. taxpayer. With a history of bipartisan support, U.S. House leaders are considering an extension of the Bank’s charter through June 30, 2015. 

More info on the Export-Import Bank: The Facts about the Ex-Im-Bank 

Internet Tax Freedom Act Extension

The second piece that could be included in the CR bill is a temporary extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act that is due to expire on November 1. Passed in 1998, the Internet Tax Freedom Act was authorized to keep Americans from being taxed for their Internet and broadband use. Extending this act is important because the Internet connects small business employers to new markets and consumers worldwide. It also provides for a whole new market of job attraction, training and education. Congress’ continuing resolution could potentially extend the Act on a short-term basis through December 11, 2014, which would provide employers with temporary certainty regarding tax-free Internet usage. 

COSE works closely with our federal partners, the National Small Business Association. For more detailed information on the CR please visit their website at: www.nsba.biz.