Cantwell pushing for Export-Import Bank reauthorization

Source: KNDO

KNDO TV - Aaron Hilf

YAKIMA, Wash.-- Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) was in Yakima, Thursday, visiting Manhasset Specialties, calling on Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

The Export-Import Bank is the country's export credit agency.

By financing and insuring the export of goods from around the country, businesses are able to break into the international market with confidence that they won't lose money.

And it's something that's brought in a lot of cash for businesses in the Yakima Valley.

Sen. Cantwell toured Manhasset, a company that employs 18 people and makes music stands.

And they depend on the Export-Import Bank to get their product around the world.

"If we didn't have that protection, it certainly would be making us have a little bit more tension at least," said Barry Heid, general manager at Manhasset Specialties.

That's because the Ex-Im Bank makes sure Manhasset gets paid.          

If a foreign buyer isn't able to pay for the product once it arrives, the bank pays the tab.

It's because of that sense of security that Manhasset has been able to grow their export business from 14% to 30% over the past five years.

"When you're talking about Yakima, the fact that Manhasset can employ these people and reach 40 markets around the globe is really really important for us and for our economy," said Sen. Cantwell.

Manhasset isn't alone either. Nine other Yakima County businesses rely on the bank, which has led to $15 million in sales over the last five years in the county.

Statewide, we've seen $64 billion in sales since 2007, all financed by the Ex-Im Bank.

"This has been reauthorized many many times, over many decades, so we're kind of surprised that all of a sudden, now people are saying, 'well we don't know if we want to continue this program," said Sen. Cantwell.

And stopping the program is something that Cantwell says could be very bad for our local economy and state-wide.

The bank is set to expire May 31st.

Senator Cantwell will be back in DC on April 17th, pushing hard for reauthorization for another four years.

The bank runs at no cost to tax payers either, and even generated $700 million for the Treasury Department last year.