The California Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to send letters to their representatives in Congress supporting the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which expired on June 30.
Last week members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to support legislation reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.
The measure, which passed in the House with 313 votes, is the same reform legislation that garnered 67 votes in the Senate earlier this year and was included in the Senate’s multi-year highway bill.
Unfortunately, opponents of Ex-Im are making an 11th hour attempt to thwart the will of the majority in both chambers by offering “poison pill” amendments to a bill that includes Ex-Im provisions.
According to a recent Reuters article, Representative Stephen Fincher, a Tennessee Republican who led an effort to revive the Ex-Im Bank by breaking down procedural roadblocks that culminated in the 313-118 renewal vote in the U.S. House, said he hoped that many of the amendments would be ruled inappropriate.
Representative Fincher added that a majority of Republicans support the Ex-Im Bank’s ability to aid both large and small firms.
“This is an attempt to derail our efforts to save jobs, plain and simple,” Fincher told reporters. “As long as the majority of our members get our chance to beat back these amendments, we can win.”
In an article by POLITICO, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he wouldn’t take up a standalone bill, although he has allowed the agency’s renewal to be attached to other must-pass legislation.
The second-ranking House Democrat, Steny Hoyer (MD), said he was urging his party’s members to oppose “any and all amendments” related to Ex-Im.
He said House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling could have allowed amendments to an Ex-Im renewal bill but chose instead not to move any legislation.
“There was a time for amendments. That’s gone. It’s gone because Mr. Hensarling kept the bill bottled up,” Hoyer said.
The effort to revive Ex-Im began on October 26 when 62 Republicans from the House joined with all Democrats in a 246-177 vote to begin the process of what’s known as a discharge petition. The tactic was last successfully used in 2002 to move campaign finance reform legislation.
In a recent letter to the California congressional delegation, the CalChamber explains that failure to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank will seriously disadvantage U.S. companies—small and large—in foreign markets, potentially resulting in the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs. Failure to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank would put at risk the more than 150,000 U.S. jobs at 3,000 companies that depend on Ex-Im to compete in global markets.
Ex-Im has a proven record of success, and turns a profit for the American taxpayer. Since 1990, Ex-Im has refunded $7 billion to the U.S. Treasury above all costs and loss reserves, including $674.7 billion in the 2014 fiscal year alone.
The potential impact of a lack of financing for exports for both small and large businesses will be damaging to the economic recovery of both California and the United States. Over the last five years, Ex-Im assisted 800 businesses from California, the vast majority being small businesses.
In fact, small businesses account for approximately 89% of Ex-Im’s transactions. These small business transaction figures are in addition to the tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses that supply goods and services to large exporters. In the 2014 fiscal year, Ex-Im provided more than $5 billion in financing and insurance for U.S. small businesses.
California is one of the top economies in the world with a gross state product exceeding $2 trillion. In 2014, California exported to approximately 229 foreign markets. Trade offers the opportunity to expand the role of California’s exports.
Congress should pass Ex-Im Bank reauthorization before any more harm is done to U.S. exporters and the workers they employ. Please link here and write or call your members. Tell them to vote “no” on all Ex-Im amendments and get this job done.
Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling