Cantwell, Tim Johnson, Graham, Shelby Introduce Bipartisan Amendment to Support American Export Jobs by Extending Ex-IM Bank Charter

Press Release

By:  Lindsey Graham Timothy Johnson Maria Cantwell
Date: March 15, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Banking Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) introduced a bipartisan amendment to support trade and export jobs by extending the Export-Import Bank's lending authority until 2015. The bipartisan amendment also increases the bank's lending limit from $100 billion to $140 billion. The Export-Import Bank projects that a $140 billion cap would result in $170 billion in export value and support 1.3 million jobs.

Unless Congress acts in the coming weeks, the bank--which helps U.S. companies export their goods all over the world--will hit its lending cap due to unprecedented demands for export financing in recent years. The bank's charter is due to expire on May 31. In 2011 alone, the Export-Import Bank supported an estimated 288,000 American jobs at more than 3,600 U.S. companies, and facilitated $41 billion in exports.

The Cantwell-Johnson-Graham-Shelby amendment was added to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) bill, which passed the House of Representatives last week, and is cosponsored by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and John Kerry (D-MA).

"The Export-Import Bank is one of the most important tools America has to create jobs," Cantwell said. "Allowing the Ex-Im Bank to expire would be a crippling blow to our export economy. More than 150 Washington state businesses rely on this financing to sell their products overseas and keep jobs at home. We must extend the Ex-Im Bank to provide certainty for American businesses and support job growth."

"In my home state of South Dakota, the Export-Import Bank has worked with small and large businesses to help export goods all over the world," said Chairman Johnson. "In the last five years it has helped support over $20 million worth of export sales in South Dakota alone. This support has been critical to many companies in my state as they seek to expand their customer base. This amendment will make sure the Bank can continue to support good-paying American jobs in communities in South Dakota and across the nation."

"The ExIm Bank is vitally important to job creation efforts in South Carolina and across the United States," Graham said. "ExIm is an excellent investment, returning money to the Treasury every year. Through the years, thousands of businesses and jobs have benefitted from the work of ExIm. In South Carolina, we have a particular interest in this issue as the bank is used to finance textile exports as well as every Boeing 787 that rolls out of the brand new, state-of-the-art assembly line this year in North Charleston. Without this financing, the Boeing 787 facility in South Carolina would not have been built and thousands of jobs our state so desperately needs would never have been created."

The Cantwell-Johnson-Graham-Shelby amendment would:
· Extend the bank's charter until 2015.
· Increase the bank's lending capacity from $100 billion to $140 billion to allow it to guarantee more loans to companies that buy U.S. exports.
· Improve the bank's transparency by requiring it to provide more notice and details to Congress, the public and customers before and after it approves transactions over $100 million. Exemptions exist for confidential and proprietary business information.

Since 1934 the Export-Import Bank has supported job-creating U.S. exports by helping American businesses sell to the world. The Bank's mandate is to step in when private lending is not available and to provide financing that levels the playing field for American exporters when foreign governments provide financing for their companies. Without reauthorization, the bank could hit its lending limit this month -- cutting off support for American exporters.

Reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank was reported out of the Senate Banking Committee by unanimous voice vote on September 8, 2011 and is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Small Business Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, TechAmerica, the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace.

In FY 2011, the bank set export financing records for the third year in a row. Overall financing exceeded $32 billion -- a nearly 34 percent increase since 2010. To see a full list of the export support by state, click here.

Boeing is one of the country's leading exporters of manufactured goods with more than $34 billion in total exports in 2011, up over 45 percent since 2006. Over the past three years, financing from the bank has supported export sales of more than 460 Boeing commercial aircraft.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, 70 percent of all exporters have fewer than 20 employees. The bank is even more important for small and medium exporters. Its financing for smaller exporters has risen over 70 percent the last three years, comprising more than 85 percent of the bank's transactions. In FY 2011, more than 700 first-time small businesses and nearly 500 minority- and women-owned businesses used the bank's services.

The bank's activities come at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. The Export-Import Bank is self-financed -- paying for itself out of the fees it collects. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that a reauthorization of the Bank will reduce the deficit by $900 million over five years. The U.S. Treasury has made more than $3 billion off the bank's activities since 2005.

Failure to extend the bank's charter would seriously impact the ability of American companies to export overseas and cost jobs. China, Brazil, France, and many other companies provide far more aggressive export credit financing to companies within their borders. In 2010, China supplied $45 billion in export loans and loan guarantees, while the U.S. provided only $13 billion, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Government. The bank simply levels the playing field for U.S. companies that sell goods overseas.