November 9, 2015
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Federal long-term highway funding bill approved in U.S. House, includes Ex-Im Bank reauthorization

AWB members worked tirelessly this last session to pass a comprehensive transportation funding and reform package – something Congress has yet to succeed at this year. The U.S. House took a step forward last week by passing a long-term highway funding bill that sets the stage for negotiations with the U.S. Senate, which has already passed a highway funding bill of its own.

If the two chambers can resolve their differences, the measure to fund road, bridge and mass-transit projects would provide the most certainty in a decade for transportation planners, The Wall Street Journal wrote.

AWB’s Grassroots Alliance partners sent a letter to Washington’s congressional delegates earlier this year asking lawmakers to support a long-term federal transportation funding package as a means of shoring up the economy and creating jobs.

In an unusual, but expected move, the transportation bill also includes a provision allowing for a long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank charter, something AWB members of all sizes have advocated for over the past year. The House passed a stand-alone bill reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank on Oct. 26, but the Senate was hedging on taking the measure up, which is why the highway funding bill including provisions to renew the bank’s expired charter.

The Olympian's editorial board said the 10 members of Washington's House delegation who unanimously voted to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank won an important victory, and that the Senate must now finish the job. "This extension needs to be approved," The Olympia concluded.

In addition to the 153 small Washington state employers that use the Ex-Im Bank to grow global exports, Boeing utilizes the bank’s services as a way to attract overseas buyers that would not have the financial backing otherwise to purchase the American-made airplanes.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner said last week that the support from Ex-Im was critical during the recession. The airplane manufacturer was able to continue production while other companies in the nation were closing their doors, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports.

If Ex-Im financing had not kept things going during the 2009 recession, Conner said, “we would have had airplanes sitting there. Nobody was willing to release capital across the board.”

The hold-up on the highway funding bill may not be the inclusion of Ex-Im Bank provisions. The biggest hole, according to U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, was the lack of votes on measures, such as user fees, to pay for the bill.

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Children Need Options

Parent Perspective: Making A Non-Political Case For Charter Schools

By Linda Sikora

I know there are funding issues and administration issues and legislative issues and union issues... all the "yeah buts" that people stake their positions on so vehemently. Here's my "yeah but" -- I wish we could channel that passion differently, I wish the "opposed" people could have the experience I had today... to see a child's eyes light up and watch her confidence emerge. It was one of those soft, seminal moments in my life. In that moment, I knew this child's life, her trajectory, could completely change. Sometimes, the biggest changes start small -- one child at a time, one school at a time. We can figure this out, people.

Please don't close these schools.

Click here to read the full blog post via the Washington State Charter School Association
Reauthorize Ex-Im Bank

Businesses Languishing Without Ex-Im Bank; Congress, Reauthorize It

By The Seattle Times editorial Board

Hilliard's Beer is gaining popularity in Sweden, where the Seattle-based brewery planned to expand sales this year. It has also received interest from distributors in Toronto and London.

Those opportunities are now on hold since Congress failed to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank last summer.

Elected leaders must end the ideological battle over Ex-Im and revive this vital tool for U.S. companies to grow exports overseas.

Hilliard's Beer is one of hundreds of exporters that used Ex-Im to secure loan guarantees and credit insurance for international sales. The shutdown has resulted in more than $9 billion worth of deals lost, said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

A lot more is at stake -- last year the bank completed $27.4 billion in transactions and supported 164,000 U.S. jobs.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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