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Waters Underscores Importance of Export-Import Bank to Creating and Sustaining Jobs

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Washington, DC, April 8, 2014 | comments

Urges speedy reauthorization of Bank’s charter

At a Panel Discussion sponsored today by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) on the importance of the Export-Import Bank, the Congresswoman underscored the importance of a quick reauthorization of the Bank’s charter to create and sustain American jobs.
 
The event featured the perspectives of a diverse array of business owners, large and small, unions and key members of Congress. In addition to Waters, attendees included Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NJ), Denny Heck (D-WA), Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), David Scott (D-GA), Al Green (D-TX), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Bill Foster (D-IL) and Steven Horsford (D-NV). Export-Import Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg also participated in the panel.

The panel was organized by Ranking Member Waters in an effort to push for a timely renewal of the Bank’s charter, and in light of the fact that the Financial Services Committee has yet to even hold a hearing on Ex-Im Bank’s reauthorization. The Bank’s authorization expires on September 30.

Waters remarks are below. 

Good afternoon everyone. 

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to everyone here at today’s Panel on the Export-Import Bank, and the important role the Bank plays in opening up international markets to U.S. exporters, which, in turn, helps support and create jobs for American workers.

I’d like to welcome – and I’d especially like to thank – in particular, our Panel members, many of whom changed important plans, rearranged busy schedules, and traveled quite far to be with us today. I have to say I was struck by the quick responses I received from our panel members to attend today’s event, and I was impressed by the depth of support, and the evident feelings of loyalty for the Bank, and for Chairman Hochberg, that many shared with me in response to my invitation.  

This is a diverse and interesting panel today, and I think you’re going to be impressed.  Our panel includes the largest exporter of manufactured goods in the country, the voice of labor, several small business owners from across the country, each with their own stories to tell, and, of course, the President and Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Fred Hochberg.  I welcome you all here today.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States is the official export credit agency of the United States and is charged with aiding the financing of exports that contribute to the employment of U.S. workers.  To accomplish its mission, the Bank offers a range of financial products to U.S. exporters and their customers.  This support allows U.S. exporters to overcome political or commercial risks that exporters or private financial institutions are unwilling or unable to take alone.  Ex-Im also helps American companies compete with foreign firms that benefit from their own country’s export credit agencies. 

Now, on the question of support for the Bank, let me start by saying that support in Congress for the Export-Import Bank has been largely bipartisan and very well deserved. I believe this support reflects the Bank’s strong record of success in carrying out its mandate, which is to help create and preserve U.S. jobs by promoting the export of U.S. goods and services abroad. 

The statistics are impressive.

Over the past five years, the Bank has supported 1.2 million private sector jobs – including 205,000 jobs this last fiscal year.  Support for manufacturing reached an all-time high last year, just over $11 billion dollars, which means the Bank did more in manufacturing than they did in any other sector. 

The Bank also continues to reach out and do more in support of support small businesses, which represented nearly 90 percent of the total number of Export-Import Bank authorizations last year.  Moreover, last year the Bank supported a record level of exports by women- and minority-owned businesses, a 17 percent increase from the year before.

The Bank also operates on a self-sustaining financial basis, meaning that it covers its own program and reserve expenses entirely through fees it charges for its services. 

In addition to covering its own expenses, the Bank generates excess funds which it remits to the Treasury. Last year, for the first time, Ex-Im generated more than $1 billion dollars for the U.S. taxpayer – which it sent to the Treasury. This was above and beyond the cost of all operations and loan-loss reserves.

While support for the Bank has historically been bipartisan, what we face today is strong opposition to the Bank from a number of vocal, activist lawmakers on the right who are ideologically opposed to many legitimate functions of government.  These members believe that Ex-Im interferes in the free market, creating a less efficient economy, and therefore they believe Ex-Im should be abolished. 

This is why I’ve organized this panel discussion today – to continue our efforts to push for a speedy reauthorization of the Bank this year, and in light of the fact that the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee has yet to schedule a hearing to consider this year’s renewal of the Bank’s charter.

I’d also like to point out to opponents of Ex-Im who claim they are concerned with protecting the taxpayer that our panel members are taxpayers too. They create jobs and hire workers – and those workers are all taxpayers as well.  

In closing, as Ranking Member of the Financial Service Committee, I just want to add that since the Bank was founded in 1934, it has functioned under both Republican and Democratic presidents, and Congress has renewed its charter 15 times with little or no controversy. The Export-Import Bank is not a Republican bank and it is not a Democratic bank. It is an American bank.

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