Cantwell Urges Swift Confirmation of Export-Import Bank Nominees

Ex-Im has not been fully operational for 1,417 days, leaving nearly $40 billion worth of deals in limbo and risking American jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, as the United States Senate moves closer to voting on three nominees to the Export-Import Bank Board of Directors, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, urged her colleagues to swiftly approve their confirmations and return the Bank to being fully operational. 

As one of the most trade-dependent state in the nation, the Export-Import Bank is vital to Washington state’s economy. 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 85%. 

“We must confirm these nominees to ensure that the Export-Import Bank is once again fully operational. It is critical for jobs and for our economy not just in my home state of Washington, but throughout the United States,” said Cantwell. 

The Ex-Im Board of Directors has been without a quorum for more than three years, preventing the Bank from approving financing for deals over $10 million. As a result, nearly $40 billion worth of deals have been stuck in limbo. 

Cantwell pointed to Spokane-based SCAFCO as a prime example of the work the Export-Import Bank does to support business across the country. SCAFCO makes storage bins, silos, and other agriculture processing and storage equipment and sells them to more than 80 markets around the world. 

“Financing from the Export-Import Bank helps SCAFCO sell a grain storage system to Cambodia. Cambodia is usually a very hard market for U.S. companies to reach. Thanks to the Export-Import Bank, SCAFCO was able to make its sale,” said Cantwell. 

Read more here about SCAFCO’s work with the Export-Import Bank to secure this deal 

“Every day that the Bank is not fully operational, American businesses lose ground to their competitors. American businesses, I believe, are some of the best in the world. They make great products and they can compete on any stage – any stage – with other countries,” Cantwell stated.

Senator Cantwell has long fought for a fully functioning and permanently reauthorized Export-Import Bank to ensure American companies can compete on a level playing field with global competitors. In December of 2015, the Export-Import Bank received a 4-year reauthorization thanks in part to Cantwell’s advocacy. The Bank now faces reauthorization in September of 2019.

Cantwell concluded her remarks by saying, “I hope my colleagues will not only help us get these nominees finally to support a functioning Export-Import Bank, but they will also work very collaboratively to make sure that the Bank does not expire again this September.”