Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded House passage of a bill to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank -- action Cantwell has been advocating for months to prevent businesses across the nation from losing this critical export support at the end of May when the bank's charter expires. The Securing American Jobs Through Exports Act of 2011 (HR 2072) passed the House by a 330 to 93 vote today and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
In early April, Cantwell visited small and medium-sized businesses across Washington state that are creating jobs and growing their exports with support from the Export-Import Bank. The Export-Import Bank supports 83,000 jobs in Washington state, including supporting $66 billion in sales from 172 Washington state exporters over the last five years. Of these 172 exporters, 121 were small businesses.
"I'm glad the House has passed a reauthorization of this critical export tool," Cantwell said. "Extending the Export-Import bank is critical for American manufacturing competitiveness and jobs."
"Recently I visited businesses across Washington state that are creating jobs and growing their exports with support from the bank," Cantwell continued. "Each of those businesses told me that without the Export-Import Bank, their export deals -- and local jobs -- would be threatened. I look forward to swift passage of this reauthorization in the Senate to ensure Washington state businesses continue to have this crucial export support."
Cantwell has been a Congressional leader in pushing the bank's reauthorization. In early April, Cantwell joined local businesses in Spokane, Yakima, Moses Lake, and Everett to call for Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank -- a crucial job-creating tool for small and medium-sized exporting businesses across the state.
In March, Cantwell introduced a bipartisan amendment -- which Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) cosponsored -- to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for four years. Cantwell's amendment would extend the Export-Import Bank until 2015 and increase its lending authority from $100 billion to $140 billion. The bill passed in the House today extends the bank's charter until 2014, with incremental increases in lending authority with the potential of up to $140 billion if the bank's default rate is less than two percent and it meets certain reporting requirements. Historically, the bank's default rate has been around 1.5 percent.
In February, Cantwell joined Senate Small Business Committee members in urging Senate leadership to move forward as soon as possible on reauthorizing the bank before its temporary extension expires at the end of May.
If private banks are unwilling, the Export-Import Bank steps in and finances or insures the purchase of U.S. goods by foreign customers. The bank's activities create jobs, don't cost U.S. taxpayers a dime and will reduce the deficit by $900 million over the next five years.