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Waters: Majority of House Supports Renewing Export-Import Bank

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Washington, DC, June 25, 2014 | comments

At today’s full committee hearing to discuss the future of the Export-Import Bank,Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) blasted Republicans for giving in to the extremist element of the Republican party in pushing to end the Bank. The Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee underscored the importance of the Bank to American jobs, small businesses and the economy, as well as to keep our nation competitive.

Waters again expressed her disappointment with the flip-flip of majority leader-elect Kevin McCarthy on the Bank, and blasted constant accusations that the Bank supports “crony capitalism.”

Finally, Waters made the important point that a majority of the House of Representatives currently supports renewing the Export-Import Bank, pointing to legislation introduced yesterday by Reps. Denny Heck (D-WA) and William Lacy Clay (D-MO) that currently has 200 original Democratic cosponsors, in addition to letter signed by 41 Republicans who recently signed a letter in support of Ex-Im’s renewal.

Waters and committee Democrats also pointed to the outpouring of support for Ex-Im’s renewal Committee Democrats have received, including those from small businesses across the country, as well as those from labor, manufacturing and business groups. Those letters can be found here.

She also pointed to a letter from the Philippine company Greenergy Solutions Inc. to California Company FirmGreen expressing regret that despite FirmGreen’s ability to provide the best technology, they did not win Greenergy’s $57 million contract due to the  “view of the uncertainty of the reauthorization of the Exim Bank.”

Waters’ remarks are below. The video can be found here
  

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I’d like to thank you for finally holding this hearing on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, even though it comes less than three months before its charter expires. It’s been over a year since this Committee even discussed the Bank at a subcommittee hearing to assess its progress on reforms. 

But let’s be serious, this hearing is not going to be a forthright discussion of the merits of the Bank. Mr. Chairman, we know your position on the Bank. We know you’ve made ending the Bank your top priority – regardless if it’s at the expense of thousands of American companies trying to compete against businesses in China, Russia, Korea and countries across Europe –all of which have their own version of the Ex-Im Bank.

I am dismayed to see that the Republican leader-elect Kevin McCarthy has also changed his view on the Export –Import Bank. I’m saddened he has followed the lead of the extremists in an effort to show his Tea Party credentials.

At one time, programs like the Ex-Im Bank were so apolitical they did not even require a vote. Now, policies that create thousands of jobs and increase American competitiveness are under constant attack. I’m becoming more and more concerned that the Republican Party’s willingness to work together on issues like flood insurance, TRIA and the Export-Import Bank has fallen victim to fringe elements who put their agenda over the well-being of our country’s workers, manufactures, business owners – and the broader economy.  As the extremists celebrate – I have to admit – I mourn it as a loss for our country.

Our new reality is government shutdowns and debt ceiling crises. It’s constant uncertainty – it’s not knowing whether the government is going to help pick up the pieces after a major flood or terrorist attack. It’s about telling businesses – large and small – that you’re on your own to go up against competitors who are backed by global superpowers.

And now, they have set their sights on, “exiting” the Export-Import Bank, an entity that creates or sustains hundreds of thousands of jobs and, over the last five years, has supported $233 billion dollars in U.S. exports.

I’d like to take a minute and thank Representatives Denny Heck and William Lacy Clay, who just yesterday introduced a clean Ex-Im reauthorization bill with 200 original Democratic cosponsors. Mr. Chairman, I’m not an expert at whipping votes, but if you add these cosponsors to the 41 Republicans who recently signed a letter in support of Ex-Im’s renewal, I believe you have a majority of the House in support of extending the Bank’s charter for the long-term.

Opponents of the Bank like to use the term “Crony Capitalism.” Well, over the past few weeks, we’ve been working hard to learn more about the so-called “crony capitalists” that have been supported by the Bank. Their stories have been astounding. Mr. Chairman, did you know there are 12 exporters in your district that are “crony capitalists?” And 11 of them are small businesses!

Over the course of this hearing, Democratic members of this committee will share with you the truth about these hardworking Americans – not cronies – that are assisted by the Bank.

They are companies like Space-X, an ambitious and revolutionary firm based in Hawthorne, California – in my district – that designs, manufactures and launches rockets and spacecraft.  It is the first private company to build, launch, and dock spacecraft at the International Space Station – and it’s a company that has been strongly supported by the majority leader-elect Kevin McCarthy – who went so far as to call its founder, Elon Musk, the “Wright brothers of the next generation.”

In just a few short years, the Ex-Im Bank has authorized close to $900 million dollars in support of exports from Space X, supporting thousands of quality, high-tech jobs across California and the U.S.  I wonder when Mr. McCarthy decided that he would no longer support his friend, Elon Musk and the Bank that keeps Space X innovating and competing. 

I too believe in Space X, because I know the pain my district has felt after losing our manufacturing base. Supporting companies like Space X is critical because they’re bringing manufacturing jobs back – and they are ensuring the United States remains a world leader in the manufacturing economy of the future. 

Thank you, I yield back.”

 

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