House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, along with House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, Monetary Policy & Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Gwen Moore, and Rep. Denny Heck, today sent a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby urging action on the confirmation of J. Mark McWatters to a four-year term serving on the Board of the Export-Import Bank. The letter calls on Chairman Shelby to allow the Senate Banking Committee to vote on Mr. McWatters’s confirmation in order to advance it to the full Senate. Mr. McWatters is a highly qualified candidate with more than thirty years of experience in tax law, corporate finance, and financial oversight who currently serves on the Board of the National Credit Union Association and was formerly a member of the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel. Until Mr. McWattters is confirmed, the Board of the Export-Import Bank is operating without a quorum, which is necessary to approve certain types of transactions critical to helping American businesses compete on a level playing field overseas.
“Confirming this nomination now is necessary to ensure that the benefits of the reauthorization can be fully realized,” the letter reads. “As you know, absent a quorum on the Board, the Bank is unable to approve medium- and long-term transactions worth more than $10 million – precisely the kind of deals where the need to offset foreign export financing support is most pronounced.… Bank transactions that exceed the $10 million threshold directly support thousands of jobs in small- and mid-size companies each year. Many thousands more jobs at smaller U.S. companies that supply larger businesses are also at stake.”
Last year, Whip Hoyer, with the help of the letter’s other signatories, implemented a strategy to bring every House Democrat together with a number of moderate Republicans in a historic effort to force a vote to reopen the Export-Import Bank and saving thousands of American jobs. That effort saw a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank pass the House by a vote of 313-118 and the Senate in a bipartisan vote of 64-29.
The full text of the letter is as follows:
May 23, 2016
The Honorable Richard Shelby
Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman:
We write to urge you to allow the Banking Committee to vote on the nomination of J. Mark McWatters to be a member of the Board of the Export Import Bank of the United States.
As you well know, last year both the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly – including a bipartisan 64-29 vote in the Senate – to reauthorize the Bank because of the key role the Bank plays supporting jobs in this country in the face of aggressive competition from more than eighty foreign export credit agencies, while also generating a profit for the U.S. Treasury.
Confirming this nomination now is necessary to ensure that the benefits of the reauthorization can be fully realized. As you know, absent a quorum on the Board, the Bank is unable to approve medium- and long-term transactions worth more than $10 million – precisely the kind of deals where the need to offset foreign export financing support is most pronounced. In fact, the Peterson Institute has estimated that the United States is losing $50 million in exports for each day the confirmation is delayed.
Some have suggested that Board-approved transactions only benefit large corporations. That is not accurate. Bank transactions that exceed the $10 million threshold directly support thousands of jobs in small- and mid-size companies each year. Many thousands more jobs at smaller U.S. companies that supply larger businesses are also at stake.
We understand that you have a different view on ensuring American companies have access to financing to compete for export opportunities, and we respect the position you have taken. However, we urge you to allow Members of your Committee – and the full Senate – to vote up-or-down on Mr. McWatters’s nomination. If you do so, we are confident the nomination would be confirmed and that American workers and businesses would benefit.
STENY H. HOYER MAXINE WATERS
GWEN MOORE DENNY HECK