Cantwell, Heitkamp, Colleagues Call on President Trump to Nominate New President of Export-Import Bank, Push for Confirmation of Board Nominees
Letter to President Trump highlights Ex-Im Bank’s role in creating and protecting jobs, facilitating U.S. exports
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and 19 of their colleagues called on President Donald Trump to nominate a full-time, Senate-confirmed president for the United States Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) who fully supports the mission of the bank, and to push for the confirmation of four of his nominees to the Ex-Im Board of Directors.
The letter comes as President Trump named Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish as “acting president” of the Ex-Im Bank. Gerrish will serve in this acting role at Ex-Im, while also maintaining his position as the Deputy U.S. Trade Representative for Asia, Europe, the Middle East and industrial competitiveness. President Trump initially nominated Scott Garrett as Ex-Im president, but Garrett repeatedly failed to win confirmation in the Senate due to his long history of opposing the mission of the bank and his repeated efforts to shut it down.
“We urge you to nominate a full-time Senate-confirmed president for the United States Export Import Bank (Ex-Im) who supports a wholly functional bank. We also call on you to push for the confirmation of four of the nominees to Ex-Im’s Board of Directors,” the senators wrote. “Ex-Im needs to be fully operational to ensure U.S. exporters are not at a disadvantage vis-à-vis their foreign competitors. American jobs are at stake. Ex-Im plays a crucial role in supporting nearly 12 million trade-dependent jobs.”
The letter also emphasized the ongoing and future consequences of the failure to confirm an Ex-Im president and new members of the Board of Directors. Four of President Trump’s nominees to the Ex-Im Board of Directors have been reported favorably out of the Senate Banking Committee but have been blocked from a full confirmation vote on the Senate floor.
“Since December 2015, Ex-Im has not had a fully operational board that is able to review and approve the types of deals that would expand U.S. exports,” the senators continued. “As a result, foreign export credit agencies have been and will continue to rush to fill the void. In turn, more U.S. jobs will be sent overseas, and both American workers and companies will be at a serious disadvantage.”
The United States Export-Import Bank provides financing to United States companies to export their products to foreign markets. Since December of 2015, however, the lack of a quorum of at least three members on the Ex-Im Board of Directors has prevented the bank from approving new medium- and long-term financing for transactions exceeding $10 million. More than 40 deals, worth a combined value of more than $44 billion, are stuck in the resulting backlog, putting U.S. workers and companies at risk.
Despite the obstruction preventing the confirmation of the nominees to the bank’s Board of Directors, Ex-Im Bank is supported by large, bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress. When the bank was reauthorized in 2015, 64 senators and 313 House members, including a majority of House Republicans, voted in favor of the bank.
In addition to Senators Cantwell and Heitkamp, the letter to President Trump was also signed by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mark Warner (D-VA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Jon Tester (D-MT).
The full text of the letter is available below.
April 27, 2018
Dear President Trump,
We urge you to nominate a full-time Senate-confirmed president for United States Export Import Bank (EXIM) who supports a wholly functional bank. We also call on you to push for the confirmation of four of the nominees to EXIM’s Board of Directors. EXIM needs to be fully operational to ensure U.S. exporters are not at a disadvantage vis-a-vis their foreign competitors. American jobs are at stake. EXIM plays a crucial role in supporting nearly 12 million trade-dependent jobs.
You have repeatedly emphasized the need to reverse our country’s trade deficit. EXIM is the right tool to help meet that goal. We were heartened to hear you support EXIM’s mission. Currently, EXIM’s Board lacks the quorum of three members needed to approve new medium- and long-term financing for transactions exceeding $10 million. As a result, over 40 deals worth more than $44 billion are stuck in the pipeline waiting for approval. Exports of U.S.-made energy equipment, fire equipment, trucks and other U.S. manufactured goods are being held up waiting for approval of credit insurance, working capital guarantees, and guarantees of commercial loans from the bank. Furthermore, U.S. companies like those in the satellite industry are not able to bid on significant overseas projects without a fully functional bank. EXIM enjoys broad, bipartisan support in both Houses of Congress, yet EXIM still does not have a President and a functioning board. U.S. workers and companies are paying the price.
Since December 2015, EXIM has not had a fully operational board that is able to review and approve the types of deals that would expand U.S. exports. As a result, foreign export credit agencies have been and will continue to rush to fill the void. In turn, more U.S. jobs will be sent overseas, and both American workers and companies will be at a serious disadvantage. According to its most recent annual report, EXIM was only able to provide about $200 million in medium-term financing, and no long-term support in 2016. That same year, by contrast, Chinese export credit agencies provided $34 billion in medium-and long-term financing for Chinese exports. We believe in the strength of American exports, but we are fighting with one hand tied behind our back.
The Senate Banking Committee has already approved four of your nominees to serve on the EXIM Board. EXIM now needs a full-time Senate-confirmed President who fully supports the bank. Absent a new nominee and a functioning board, EXIM will languish, deals will stall, foreign export credit agencies will take advantage and American jobs will go overseas. We can and must do better. American workers and companies are counting on you to set EXIM back on course to keep our country competitive.
Thank you for your assistance.
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