Ex-Im Bank Is Closed for Business – At Least for Now

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The U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank closed its doors on Tuesday following a lapse in Congressional authority. The 81-year-old agency provided financing for both American companies that export goods and their foreign customers, helping to secure American exporters’ access to emerging markets. But following a push by conservative Republicans who claimed the Ex-Im Bank was a form of corporate welfare, Congress declined to extend the Bank’s charter before recessing for the Fourth of July holiday. Absent congressional action, the Ex-Im Bank is now unable to authorize new loans, insurance, or guarantees, effectively freezing new projects.

American businesses that rely on the Ex-Im Bank are concerned that, without access to the capital the Ex-Im Bank provides, they will not be able to take on large-scale projects abroad, resulting in a substantial loss of jobs here in the United States. Continue reading this entry

Needed Now: Experienced and Talented Cybersecurity Professionals to Protect Government Data Systems

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The announcement on June 4th of a massive cybersecurity attack that compromised data stored on Office of Personnel Management (OPM) systems for 4.2 million current and former federal employees is the most recent head-smacking report of how porous the government’s cyber defense systems apparently are. It is also another searing reminder of how vulnerable United States government and private sector data continue to be. Again and again, with alarming frequency, the refrain of common questions arises and attention is focused on the dire need to strengthen and secure the government’s cyber defenses.

OPM officials were quick to identify aging legacy systems as the main culprit behind the massive data theft. Of course, such vulnerability encourages more attacks and more extensive damage. With no foreseeable abatement and – to the contrary – the prospect of increasingly sophisticated cyber invasions, with at least some appearing to implicate enemy nation states, more than new and enhanced infrastructure is needed. Implementing critically needed structural improvements will take time. Right now, however, experienced, talented and top-flight cybersecurity professionals should be hired and quickly brought on board. Once in place, the cyber experts should make a comprehensive assessment of existing systems, identify and thoroughly examine their vulnerabilities, and then develop the most comprehensive and iron-clad cyber defense possible – one that withstands attacks of evolving sophistication and is subject to ongoing monitoring. The enhanced program also should be capable of quickly and effectively responding to incidents. Continue reading this entry

Congress Sends Fast-Track Trade Authority Bill to the President, Invigorating Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations

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After several weeks of legislative wrangling, congressional leaders will send a bill to President Obama this week to give him fast-track authority to negotiate a trade deal that will potentially govern 40 percent of U.S. imports and exports. The Trade Act of 2015 [also referred to as “Trade Promotion Authority” (TPA) or “fast-track trade authority”], will allow the President to negotiate the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal with limited congressional interference.

On June 24, the Senate passed the TPA bill 60-38. Because the House cleared this measure earlier this month, the bill will go directly to the President for his signature by the end of the week. Continue reading this entry

Top Three Cybersecurity Misconceptions

Cybersecurity is an issue that should be top-of-mind for all manufacturers. But there are three misconceptions about cybersecurity that can put companies in all industries at significant risk. In this short video, Foley Partner Michael Overly discusses these misconceptions and how companies should change their views of and approaches to cybersecurity.

Congress Still Debating Fast Track Trade Authority for Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations

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Congressional leaders are working to find a way to pass legislation that would give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate a trade deal that will potentially govern 40 percent of U.S. imports and exports. The Trade Act of 2015 [also referred to as “Trade Promotion Authority” (TPA) or “fast-track trade authority”], would allow the President to negotiate the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal with limited congressional interference. Continue reading this entry