VIDEO: Cantwell Urges Senate to Reauthorize Export-Import Bank, Support Export Jobs

Cantwell: ‘The Export-Import Bank is one of the best tools in America to create jobs’ Bank’s charter due to expire in May, supported 83,000 jobs last year across Washington state ****VIDEO AVAILABLE****

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) urged colleagues to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank and support export jobs. Unless Congress acts in the coming weeks, the bank—which helps U.S. companies export their goods all over the world—will see its lending authority expire on May 31. Watch a video of Senator Cantwell’s remarks delivered today on the Senate floor.

In 2011 alone, the Export-Import Bank supported an estimated 288,000 American jobs at more than 3,600 U.S. companies, and facilitated $41 billion in exports. Since 2007, the Ex-Im Bank has provided $28 billion in loans to 168 exporters in Washington state, resulting in $64 billion in sales. Of these 168 exporters, 120 were small businesses, 11 were minority-owned businesses and 12 were women-owned businesses. To see a full list of the companies in Washington state, click here.

The Senate voted this afternoon on a bipartisan amendment offered by Cantwell to extend the Ex-Im Bank’s lending authority until 2015 and increase its lending limit from $100 billion to $140 billion. The Export-Import Bank projects that a $140 billion cap would result in $170 billion in export value and support 1.3 million jobs.The measure failed 55 to 44.

“The Export-Import Bank is one of the best tools in America to create jobs,” Cantwell said. “It’s disappointing that a minority in the Senate have chosen to play political football with the American economy. We need to extend the Ex-Im Bank now to support 290,000 jobs, including more than 80,000 in Washington state. I’m hopeful that the Senate will reconsider the Ex-Im bank reauthorization shortly.”

In fiscal year (FY) 2011, the bank set export financing records for the third year in a row. Overall financing exceeded $32 billion – a nearly 34 percent increase since 2010.

Boeing is one of the country’s leading exporters of manufactured goods with more than $34 billion in total exports in 2011, up over 45 percent since 2006. Over the past three years, financing from the bank has supported export sales of more than 460 Boeing commercial aircraft.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, 70 percent of all exporters have fewer than 20 employees. The bank is even more important for small and medium exporters. Its financing for smaller exporters has risen over 70 percent the last three years, comprising more than 85 percent of the bank’s transactions. In FY 2011, more than 700 first-time small businesses and nearly 500 minority- and women-owned businesses used the bank’s services.

The potential for the Ex-Im Bank to help Washington state small businesses create jobs is so great that the bank recently announced that it would open a branch in Seattle, Washington. The goal of opening this new branch is helping small businesses get more access to the bank’s financing.

The bank’s activities come at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. The Export-Import Bank is self-financed – paying for itself out of the fees it collects. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that a reauthorization of the Bank will reduce the deficit by $900 million over five years. The U.S. Treasury has made more than $3 billion off the bank’s activities since 2005.

Failure to extend the bank’s charter would seriously impact the ability of American companies to export overseas and cost jobs. China, Brazil, France, and many other companies provide far more aggressive export credit financing to companies within their borders. In 2010, China supplied $45 billion in export loans and loan guarantees, while the U.S. provided only $13 billion, according to an analysis by Bloomberg Government. The bank simply levels the playing field for U.S. companies that sell goods overseas.

Cantwell’s amendment is also backed by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Banking Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), and cosponsored by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mark Warner (D-VA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), John Kerry (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Robert Casey (D-PA). Cantwell’s amendment was introduced last week.

Since 1934 the Export-Import Bank has supported job-creating U.S. exports by helping American businesses sell to the world. The Bank’s mandate is to step in when private lending is not available and to provide financing that levels the playing field for American exporters when foreign governments provide financing for their companies. Without reauthorization, the bank could hit its lending limit this month – cutting off support for American exporters.

Reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank was reported out of the Senate Banking Committee by unanimous voice vote on September 8, 2011 and is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Small Business Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, TechAmerica, the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, Coalition for Employment through Exports, Washington Council on International Trade, Aerospace Machinists Industrial District Lodge 751, 22 Governors – including Washington state’s, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and the Business Roundtable. Read their statements of support here.

Cantwell’s remarks as delivered today on the Senate floor follow:

Mr. President, I rise to talk about the Cantwell, Johnson, Graham amendment that’s going to be voted on shortly in this series of votes that we’re going to be having. And to urge my colleagues to support this important amendment that would reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank for four years until 2015.

And the current authorization is set to expire in May of this year. So it’s very urgent that we pass this authorization and it would increase capacity for the bank because there is demand.  

The Ex-Im Bank, people may know, or maybe not know, supplies credit stability to foreign purchases of U.S. product where those purchases have limited access to…the purchaser has limited access to private-sector capital due to political risk or instability or limited access to capital.

And it’s something we’ve had since 1934. So this program has been a way for U.S. manufacturers, small businesses, a variety of U.S. companies to make sure that they get sales of their products in international markets.

So it’s been an incredibly important tool, somebody called it one of the most important toolboxes in U.S. economic capacity to help our economy.

In 2011, the bank supported over 41 billion dollars in U.S. exports from over 3,600 U.S. companies. And it supported nearly 290,000 export-related jobs in America.

So that’s a very, very big impact. And according to the Congressional Budget Office the reauthorization of this program will help reduce the deficit by over 900 million dollars over the next five years.

That’s right, a program that’s run by the government that actually helps our deficit be reduced. And that is because of the amount of money that is made from these transactions and returned to the Treasury.

So I want to thank my colleagues Senators Johnson, Graham, Shelby, Warner, Schumer, Brown, Hagen, Coons, Akaka, Murray, Landrieu, Kerry, Kirk, Durbin, Shaheen, McCaskill, Lieberman, Casey, for all sponsoring this important amendment.

Now the reason why we’re out here is to make sure that our colleagues know this is the 25th time that this legislation has been up for extension since its original executive order establishing it.

And I’m looking at the record here, 1983 passed by voice vote on the reauthorization. Passed by unanimous consent, 1992. Passed by unanimous consent many times.

So here’s a program that over the last several decades has been passed by unanimous consent and yet all of the sudden this legislation is being stalled or held up and what I want to make sure my colleagues know is what an important tool it is for job creation and why it’s so important that we not take the capital that’s left over in the Ex-Im program and delay it. Because what’s going to happen if we don’t get this reauthorization done right away is that they are going to stop the activity that is actually helping job creation in the United States.

So as you can see here in 2011 the total number of jobs that it helped support was nearly 300,000 jobs. So that’s a pretty good impact by basically saying as a program of financing of last resort the United States is going to make sure that US companies can get their product sold in various market-places.

That’s why the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, many companies and organizations are supporting this legislation.

And as an added bonus I said it is generating revenue to the U.S. economy. In fact it has generated a lot of money, 3.7 billion dollars for US taxpayers since 2005.

And I know some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle think the program could have more transparency. I’m all for more transparency for the Ex-Im Bank but I would like if one of my colleagues can figure out, with more transparency, how to get more than 3.7 billion dollars to the U.S. Treasury, out of a government program. I’d love to hear about it.

Because this is a program that has worked successfully. So let’s talk about some of the places that these jobs were created…I mean actually supported and sustained.

In Pennsylvania, in 2011, 1.4 billion dollars in export products were helped to be purchased by the Ex-Im Bank and over 9,000 jobs in the state of Pennsylvania. So there is help and support for those small businesses, those manufacturers in Pennsylvania that want to access international markets.

But there’s purchasers just like the SBA program or other financial aid programs that need help and support in getting the financing done.

Let’s look at Massachusetts. Another robust state. 566 million dollars in exports in 2011. That was over 4,000 jobs supported through this Ex-Im program.

In my state there is many jobs and you can see from looking at the list of companies that helped get support through this. You know, you have obviously aviation has done very well with having this kind of financing. Particularly competing in a big global market where other countries have these kinds of financing tools but you also have a lot of small businesses. You have clean-tech, you have agriculture, you have sea-food, a lot of different companies.

Texas probably antoher state that’s been a huge winner in having the Ex-Im program. 35,000 jobs supported by the Ex-Im Bank and almost 5 billion dollars. 4. 9 billion dollars of business that was done in the state of Texas through this program.

So my colleagues can see that this is a very, very viable and important program to get reauthorized. I know some people think that we ought to hold it up and some are saying let’s just stop the program all together. Stop it and get rid of it. Even though it’s been around, it’s been a tool, it’s been authorized many times on unanimous consent.

But now all of a sudden some people think that this program hasn’t served the American public and the American job economy very well. I would differ with them. It has served us very well.

Another example, Florida, it has in 2011 helped support 1.1 billion dollars of Florida product sold in international markets and helped support over 7,600 jobs in that state. So again, a big boost to that state’s economy.

Let’s look at North Carolina. Uh, another. Oh, North Carolina. Thank you.

North Carolina it has helped support over 3,300 jobs and over 456 million in exports. What I also like about this is that for the first time with this legislation the textile industry is going to get a member of the Export-Import Bank. So that is to further help export products from places like North Carolina and South Carolina get access to the market-place and to make sure that they are being competitive on an international basis.

And the last chart, Ohio, which is over 398 million and 2,888 jobs .

So all of these are important jobs for our economy. And as I said earlier this program is expiring in May and so if we fail to reauthorize it now what we’re going to run into is the Export Bank cutting off those types of businesses, those types of jobs in the very near future.

Because they are almost at capacity for this year. So instead of saying Washington or Florida products or Ohio products or Pennsylvania products ready for sale. Basically what we’re going to say is U.S. products in a warehouse waiting for opportunity. We’re basically going to say that the door is basically shut on selling these products because we haven’t gotten our job done in making sure the export programs is reauthorized.

So I hope that my colleagues will realize that around here very few are getting done very efficiently. There are a lot of things getting held up and the US economy is paying the price for it.

If we can’t push something like the Ex-Im Bank through this process that again has been authorized and reauthorized so many times either by uc or voice vote. And all of the sudden we’re going to turn it into a political football then the American economy is going to pay the price for that.

And so I urge my colleagues to help us get this Cantwell, Johnson, Graham amendment passed out of the Senate today and on its way to the House so that we can expedite the process of making sure that we don’t have a sign across America saying ‘U.S. products stuck in warehouse.’ Instead we have a sign saying ‘U.S. exports on the gain, the United States making great headway in selling great products and services around the globe.’

So I know my colleagues earlier today were saying well there is some things that people want to change. The amendments people want to offer in this legislation are people who want to stop this program. This legislation has transparency, it has improvements that have been recommended on market based rates, and it puts the United States on a competitive advantage to make sure that we are competing in a world in which export market opportunity has grown something like 500 times in the last 25 years. So if we want to be in the jobs game we’ve got to get our products overseas, the Ex-Im Bank will continue to let us do that. I urge my colleagues to support the Cantwell, Johnson, Graham amendment.