Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) cosponsored bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank -- a financing tool that has helped more than 180 exporters in Washington state sell their products to international markets, supporting 85,000 jobs in Washington state. The Bank's charter is set to expire Sept. 30, 2014.
The five-year reauthorization package would incrementally increase the Bank's spending authority to $160 billion from $140 billion over a four-year period, require the Bank to submit reports to Congress detailing its business plan and risk exposure, and ensure the Bank's loan loss ratio is less than two percent for any quarter in that fiscal year. The bill would also require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study to be completed within one year to identify the risk to taxpayers of the Bank's Medium-Term Program.
Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mark Warner (D-VA), Banking Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) also are cosponsoring the legislation.
"The Export-Import Bank is a crucial tool for growing American manufacturing jobs and increasing exports of American-made products," said Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. "This bipartisan bill will allow thousands of American businesses to compete on a level playing field and sell their products to a growing global middle class. Now is the time for Congress to act to support American jobs and entrepreneurship."
"From building airplanes to growing apples, Washington state is home to many world-class industries, and the Export-Import Bank helps those industries sell their products in markets all around the world and create jobs here at home," said U.S. Senator Patty Murray. "Republicans and Democrats have always come together to support the Export-Import Bank, so I'm proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill to support the Bank for another five years."
The Export-Import Bank is a financing tool that helps American companies sell their products or services to foreign customers. It has supported more than 180 exporters in Washington state, two-thirds of which are small businesses. About 85,000 jobs in Washington state are supported by sales involving Ex-Im Bank financing.
"As a former West Virginia small business owner, I know that businesses are the engine for economic growth and long-term stability and prosperity, and it is truly beneficial for those businesses to reach broader markets and new customers," said Senator Manchin, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, which oversees the Export-Import Bank. "The Ex-Im Bank creates jobs and helps U.S. businesses, big and small, sell their products overseas at no cost to the federal government. We cannot afford to let the Ex-Im Bank expire while many other countries -- like China, India and Brazil -- have expanded their credit assistance to exporters. In order to stay competitive abroad and boost our economy at home, our business exporters need certainty that they can receive the financial loan guarantees to invest and sell internationally. I also believe that if we are truly committed to protecting our global environment, the U.S. should lead the world in clean coal technology, which is why I am introducing an amendment that helps U.S. businesses export that technology to the rest of the world."
"Without the reauthorization of Ex-Im, the aerospace industry in Illinois for companies like Boeing could face unfair competition from China," Senator Kirk said. "Now is not the time to force American businesses onto an unlevel playing field."
"Missouri businesses and thousands of workers in our state have benefited from Export-Import Bank loans," said Senator Roy Blunt. "I'm pleased to co-sponsor Senator Manchin's bill, which will help continue America's competitiveness in the international marketplace."
"If the Export-Import Bank closes and American companies lose the financing they need to export their products, foreign companies and countries are not going to stop buying goods and products," said Sen. Joe Donnelly. "They will simply buy products from Russia or China instead of the made-in-Indiana products they currently purchase. Congress should not allow this to happen. I've said before and it bears repeating: most Americans think Congress can play some role in improving the economy--even if that role is simply not making things worse. Congress needs to demonstrate common sense and quickly pass this bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank."
"Since 2007, the Export-Import Bank has helped finance $1 billion of exports from nearly 100 Virginia companies, more than half of them small businesses," said Senator Mark R. Warner. "Ex-Im has done this all at no cost to the taxpayer: in fact, it generated $1 billion towards deficit reduction in the last fiscal year. In an increasingly globalized and competitive economy, it makes no sense to eliminate this vital tool for Virginia manufacturers and exporters."
"The Export-Import Bank is one of the best tools we have to help move the economy forward," said Senator Kaine. "Everyone in Virginia -- from Governor McAuliffe, to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, to the Virginia Association of Manufacturers, is telling me, "whatever you do, find an agreement to authorize the continuation of this very important bank.' All we have to do is vote to reauthorize it before September 30. It is my hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle - and in both houses - will join in this very important and completely logical mission."
The entire Washington state delegation -- in both the House and the Senate -- voted for the bank's reauthorization in 2012. The reauthorization of the Export Import Bank is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, Business Roundtable, the U.S. Council for International Business, as well as more than 325 organizations nationwide.