Four Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation to reauthorize, reform and re-energize the Export-Import Bank, an agency that supports hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs and levels the playing field so that American businesses are able to compete successfully in global markets.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, joined Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade, Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA), and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) to introduce the measure, which renews Ex-Im’s charter for seven years, increases its lending authority to meet the needs of U.S. exporters, and modernizes the Bank’s programs to better serve small and medium-sized businesses.
“This comprehensive, seven-year renewal seeks to put politics aside and begin the serious work necessary to ensure the Export-Import Bank can continue supporting hundreds of thousands of American jobs,” said Ranking Member Waters. “The simple fact is that bipartisan majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate support renewing the Export-Import Bank’s charter, and I am confident that Democrats and Republicans will reach consensus to keep the Bank alive. Our bill takes a common-sense approach that will get Ex-Im out of the political crosshairs and back to the important work of boosting exports and helping to grow our economy.”
“Failure to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank would be a crippling blow to our country’s economy,” said Ranking Member Moore said.“American businesses of all sizes depend on this essential financial institution for the vital financing they need to stay competitive in the international marketplace. As our economy continues to rebound, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to continue supporting sensible policies that foster domestic job growth and promote export opportunities for our local businesses. Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank is the key.”
“Congress cannot keep sitting on their hands while our local businesses are losing jobs and export opportunities over misguided attacks on our Export-Import Bank,” said Rep. Heck. “The bipartisan path towards boosting American jobs and the exports of American-made products starts with a robust reauthorization plan of 7 years. Then Ex-Im can get out of the political theater and get back to being the job-creating machine that helps American exports reach consumers around the globe.”
“I’m proud to join Ranking Member Waters, Ranking Member Moore, and Rep. Heck as an original cosponsor of their bill to extend the Export-Import Bank’s charter authority for seven years and reform its operations to serve American businesses better,” said Democratic Whip Hoyer. “Businesses across America rely on the Export-Import Bank to help them reach new markets and compete on a level playing field. When we increase our exports, we can create more jobs here at home – jobs that support opportunities for our workers and their families so they can secure a place in the middle class. Businesses need the certainty that a long-term authorization of the Export-Import Bank would provide, and I hope Republicans and Democrats can work together to bring this legislation to the Floor and pass it before the current authorization runs out at the end of June.”
The legislation, entitled the “Promoting U.S. Jobs through Exports Act of 2015” extends Ex-Im’s charter until the end of fiscal year 2022. It also includes a number of important reforms to strengthen the Bank, including provisions to expand opportunities and refine Bank products used by small- and medium-sized businesses. In addition, the legislation contains provisions to root out any possible opportunities for corruption and fraud and protect taxpayer investments in Bank-supported businesses. The measure establishes a permanent Chief Risk Officer, which is accountable to the Bank’s Board and responsible for all matters relating to managing and mitigating the Bank’s risk. The measure also directs the administration to take steps to bring all nations into the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) framework for export credit assistance and seek World Trade Organization remedies for countries that violate international trade agreements.
Finally, the proposal increases transparency by requiring the Bank to publicly display environmental assessment reports on its website no later than 15 business days after the Bank receives these documents, eliminating the cumbersome disclosure process currently in place. It does not contain controversial provisions included in other reauthorization measures that seek to overturn the administration’s guidelines preventing the Bank from financing for overseas power plants that do not adopt environmentally friendly technology.
Ex-Im’s charter has come dangerously close to expiration in recent months, as key Republican leaders have rejected bipartisan calls for a long-term renewal. In September of 2014, lawmakers reached a deal to renew the Bank on a short-term basis, extending the charter for just nine short months through June 2015. Last Congress, Reps. Waters and Heck released their own versions of bills to renew the Bank.