U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of the United States. The legislation will now move to the Senate.
"I'm very pleased the House of Representatives authorized Ex-Im Bank for another three years. Ex-Im allows American manufacturers to compete on a level playing field when it comes to selling their products overseas. Ex-Im benefits both large and small businesses and is available when regular financing is difficult to secure. (Link: South Carolina Ex-Im customers available here).
"Eighty percent of the Boeing 787s produced in North Charleston will be sold to companies who are eligible for and routinely use Ex-Im financing. Boeing's competitor, Airbus, relies on three export-import banks located in France to help sell their airplanes to international customers.
"One-third of the General Electric gas turbines produced in Greenville sold overseas use Ex-Im financing. In the case of Boeing and General Electric, the availability of Ex-Im financing is the difference between staying viable in South Carolina or dramatically reducing their business. Simply put, for South Carolina businesses like these to be successful in the international marketplace, Ex-Im has to be reauthorized.
"I appreciate my House colleagues who voted to reauthorize the bank. The legislation they supported overhauls the bank's operations and helps ensure Ex-Im adheres to sound business practices. Over the last five years the bank has made more than $3.4 billion for the federal treasury above and beyond the costs of its operations.
"I also respect those who chose a different path and voted against reauthorization. I believe American companies could compete and thrive in a world without Ex-Im Banks and this would be the ideal outcome. However, that world does not exist today.
"Competitor nations have Ex-Im Banks far larger and more aggressive than ours. China's export bank is larger than many European nations combined. Canada, one-tenth the population of the United States has an Ex-Im Bank that is three times as large as the United States.
"Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in "Trust but Verify.' But I see no evidence that competitor nations like China are getting out of the Ex-Im business and I cannot, in good conscience, support unilateral disarmament. In fact, I know if we unilaterally disarm they would only seek to increase their advantage
"In the Senate, I will enthusiastically support the House-passed legislation as I do not believe the United States can or should unilaterally disarm."