Cantwell, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan 10-Year Reauthorization of U.S. Export-Import Bank

Ex-Im helps Washington exporters reach customers around the globe

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, joined U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) in introducing legislation to reauthorize the United States Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) for 10 years.

“From Spokane and Vancouver to Ellensburg and Hoquiam, Ex-Im supports jobs throughout Washington state,” Senator Cantwell said. “In the last decade alone, it has supported more than one million jobs nationwide. This bill will ensure that Ex-Im can continue to provide financing that U.S. companies need to reach growing global markets, create American jobs, and grow our economy.”

Ex-Im provides the financing support necessary to help thousands of American businesses of every size export their products to overseas markets – where more than 95% of the world’s consumers live. This support is vital to the economy in Washington state, one of the most trade-dependent states in the nation, and to ensuring that American companies can compete on a level playing field with competitors from around the world.

“For small businesses entering the export market, the Export-Import Bank is critical to fund or borrow against those sales. Ex-Im is critical to our financial well-being – it allows us to grow our exports year after year, and without it, those sales could decrease by as much as 80 percent,” said Orlin Reinbold, owner of Landmark Turf and Native Seed in Spokane.

“In our 80 years we have shipped our factory automation equipment to over 100 countries around the world. In the last couple years alone we have lost four plant orders – each worth between one and three million dollars in sales – to our European competitors because of export financing programs they were able to offer our prospective customers. Selling a complete new factory to a company is a long process, taking many years in some cases. A company is not going to pursue a financing option on such a big investment that they are uncertain will be available once they have all the approvals they need and are finally ready to proceed with ordering equipment. We are definitely at a competitive disadvantage because of the uncertainty with Ex-Im in recent years,” said Rick Goode, CEO of Columbia Machine, Inc., in Vancouver.

The legislation Cantwell and her colleagues introduced today would reauthorize Ex-Im for 10 years – the Bank’s longest ever reauthorization – to give exporters the certainty they need to close deals in foreign markets. It would also increase the amount of credit available to exporters to $175 billion a year.

The legislation would also fix the Bank’s quorum rules to make sure U.S. exporters do not miss out on opportunities abroad because of congressional inaction. Under current rules, the Bank cannot approve financing for deals over $10 million without a quorum on its Board of Directors. Ex-Im recently operated without a quorum for more than 1,400 days, leaving nearly $40 billion worth of export deals stuck in limbo – this situation only ended when Cantwell and her colleagues confirmed three nominees to the Ex-Im Board of Directors earlier this year.

Ex-Im supports thousands of jobs in Washington state, and the state has felt the impact of a less-than-fully-operational bank. In fiscal year 2014, the last year the Bank was fully operational, the Export-Import Bank supported nearly 39,000 jobs in Washington and more than 200,000 jobs in the United States. In fiscal year 2018, without a quorum, the Bank only supported 650 jobs in Washington and only 33,000 jobs nationwide – a decrease of nearly 98% and 85%, respectively.

Cantwell has been a strong proponent of the Export-Import Bank throughout her time in Congress. When Ex-Im lapsed in June 2015, she worked with a bipartisan group of colleagues to reauthorize the bank for four years. And throughout the time Ex-Im was forced to operate without a quorum, she repeatedly urged President Trump and her Senate colleagues to return it to being fully operational.

In addition to Senators Cantwell, Cramer, and Sinema, the legislation is also co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Here is an interactive map of companies throughout Washington state that have used the Ex-Im Bank to send their products around the globe.

The full text of the bill is available HERE.