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Public Statements

Securing American Jobs Through Exports Act of 2012--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I rise today to speak on the motion to proceed to the passage of the Export-Import Bank, legislation that has come over from the House and passed the House with a vote of 330 to 93, a pretty resounding vote in favor of moving forward on the Export-Import Bank, which is a major tool to financing manufacturing in the United States when they have products to be sold around the globe.

We hear the President talk all the time about the fact that we need to increase our exports. This is a very important tool that has existed for decades in helping businesses across our country produce product and get sales into overseas markets, so the fact this legislation passed the House again with an overwhelmingly positive vote--and, I should point out to my colleagues here in the Senate, without amendment. It was not amended on the floor. That is, my colleagues on the House side, both Republicans and Democrats, worked out such a positive proposal that it went to the House floor without amendment.

Now we have the chance to bring it up here and pass this legislation, and I urge my colleagues to do so very quickly because this legislation and this authorization for the Export-Import Bank is expiring at the end of this month.

So, yes, here we are again at the eleventh hour. Instead of giving predictability and certainty to a very important program, we are down to the last minutes about whether it is going to continue to operate in the normal way that it does. I am here to ask my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle to move forward, do as your House colleagues did, agree to the legislation, and let's get it out of here so people know in and across America that this program will continue.

I toured Washington State, which has many companies that benefit from the Export-Import Bank. One of them was a company in Spokane, WA, SCAFCO, which happens to be one of the largest makers of grain silos in the world and they export these grain silos. They are used in the United States, but they are used all over the world. I saw 200 workers there who know firsthand how important it is to get this legislation adopted and moved forward, because it means sales of those grain silos all around the world. They have used this financing mechanism to expand overseas sales to 11 new countries and to make sure they were continuing to compete on an international basis.

If you look over the last 5 years, this bank has supported over $64 billion of sales and exports in Washington State. Yes, some of those jobs are related to aviation, but 83,000 related jobs in Washington State are small businesses, companies such as Sonoco in Moses Lake which is a machine shop, and they do repair parts for aircraft for 40 different clients spread across the globe.

We were at another company in Yakima, a music company. If anybody has heard of Manhasset Music Stands, it is an unbelievable story of a success of a company that has sales of over $1 million to various countries around the globe; and people definitely like the fact that Made in America means quality and that they have been able to access all of these markets.

We saw a company in the Everett area, Esterline, which has built airplane parts and employs over 600 people, and has used this agreement. Basically, they build the overhead cockpit part of airplanes and they sell those to a variety of businesses all around the globe.

Without the financing of the Ex-Im Bank, these companies lose out on an international basis to the financing mechanisms that other countries have, whether that is Canada, Europe, or other places. This program is very successful and, I might add, adds billions of dollars back to the U.S. Government. This is not a program that costs us money. This is a program that basically generates revenue back to the Federal Government.

I want to say to my colleagues, there were several things that were added in the House bill--a GAO report on evaluating the banks and capital market conditions, making sure they do an annual report on due diligence and the purpose of the loan, additional requirements by Treasury, making sure we continue to oversee the Ex-Im Bank; so lots of language in making sure there is transparency in the Ex-Im Bank financing mechanism.

This is a good resolution. I applaud my colleagues in the House, Representatives Hoyer, Cantor, and Boehner, who all worked on this agreement, and I hope my colleagues move quickly on it.

There is one thing we know right now. We need to do everything we can to help our economy and to help jobs. The Ex-Im Bank has been a proven job creator in the United States, helping U.S. companies compete internationally. It has helped us pay down the deficit in the past. Now all we need to do is give it the certainty that it will continue to operate as of May 31 this year. So let's get on with this business of making sure we are focusing on the economy, and make sure, for the Ex-Im Bank, we proceed to this measure and pass it as soon as possible.

I thank the President, and I yield the floor.

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Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I appreciate the majority leader's actions on trying to move us forward on a very important jobs bill. The Export-Import Bank is a way to fund manufacturers in the United States so their products can be sold around the globe. It is kind of similar to a Small Business Administration finance program for exports.

We know the President has said we need to increase exports. This is a program that has been in place for decades, never controversial at this degree. Now all of a sudden we are, weeks before the authorization expires, sitting here arguing over whether we can move forward on this bill.

I have great respect for the Senate. But there are some times when the Senate does not get to work out a deal, and we are presented with something that has been worked out by the House of Representatives. We can go back to what the majority leader said, how we got in this spot; that is, objecting to every motion to proceed, objecting to every motion to proceed. Pretty soon all the work stacks up. We try to move legislation and every motion is objected to. So the consequence is we run out of time and we run out of a way to get to a compromise.

In this case, guess what happened. The House came up with a compromise. The House, even to the degree that some of the amendments that some of my colleagues wanted to offer, got implemented into the House compromise bill that now passed the House of Representatives with, whatever, 300-plus votes to 93.

With my colleagues, basically, continuing to just try to derail the normal process, we have had to take now a House bill that I think encompasses many of the things people wanted to see either in reforms or ways to make the bank more transparent or ways to make sure we are focusing on things that are going to help U.S. manufacturers win the day in a very competitive market.

So I say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, yes; Mr. Boehner and Mr. Cantor worked out a compromise. So now we can again take more time here and analyze it and see whether you agree with that. I certainly like when the Senate works out agreements, and oftentimes we have asked our House colleagues to vote on them. But we now have the student loan bill that needs to be done, this Export-Import Bank that needs to be done, and many other important economic agenda items we should get to for this country.

I hope when the cloture motion comes forward, my colleagues will realize the only thing people are trying to do now--they can vote no on the program if they don't like it because they are primarily amendments to defund the bank. These are not perfecting amendments to a compromise that has been worked out. They want to express their opposition. They will have a chance to do that.

I hope for the sake of thousands of jobs in the United States, for the sake of U.S. competitiveness in a global market, where these companies are competing with other companies around the globe, my colleagues will realize this is a compromise piece of legislation. Let's get it done next week and onto the President's desk so we can go about winning more jobs in a very competitive global economy. That is what we need to do. Holding out 1 more, 2 more, or 3 more days, or another week just to get an amendment saying you hate the Ex-Im Bank, that is not the way to get things done for America.

I hope my colleagues will support moving ahead so we can get this onto the President's desk.

I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.

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