During consideration of H.R. 3354, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, spoke on the House floor against a ruling to eliminate an amendment introduced by Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) which would temporarily modify the Export-Import Bank’s quorum requirement, allowing the Bank to consider transactions of all sizes and clear its significant backlog. Despite a bipartisan reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank in 2015, the Bank remains functionally stalled, a situation Congressman Dent’s amendment would have rectified.
As Prepared for Delivery
I must say, I am deeply disappointed by the sinister attempt being made here today to strip a critical Republican-led amendment from this appropriations bill, which would thwart the will of overwhelming majorities in both Houses, and undermine the work of the of the job-creating Export-Import Bank.
As of the end of 2016, as many as 50 major transactions, with an aggregate value of nearly $40 billion had piled up in the Bank’s approval pipeline. And according to the Ex-Im Bank, if approved, these transactions would support more than 100,000 jobs in the United States.
The longer we wait, the greater the risk that these pending transactions will be withdrawn and sourced by our foreign competitors, and the greater the likelihood that jobs that would have otherwise supported here in the United States will move offshore.
The Chairman of the Financial Services Committee claims that striking this amendment would have quote, “no budgetary effect,” but this is hardly the case. President Trump’s own FY 2018 budget estimates that a fully functional Export-Import Bank would generate $587.7 million in excess funds in the next fiscal year, which would be sent to the Treasury for U.S. debt reduction. Importantly, these profits on behalf of the U.S. taxpayer can only be generated if the Bank is able to approve its backlog of large transactions, which require Board approval.
If Chairman Hensarling succeeds in stripping this important provision from the bill, and the Export-Import Bank is forced to operate at a diminished capacity, there will be many losers: American workers, thousands of small businesses, our country’s industrial defense base, and the U.S. taxpayer.
Although the White House has questioned the need for this provision, urging Congress instead to act on the Administration’s pending nominees, the fact is, former Representative Scott Garrett, the President’s nominee to run the Bank, does not have the necessary support to be confirmed and his stalled nomination will keep Ex-Im’s Board of Directors from achieving the quorum it needs for the indefinite future.
This important provision was adopted by the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations on a voice vote. Further, the appropriations bill, as amended, was subsequently adopted by the full Committee on a voice vote.
Despite the fact that the Bank enjoys bipartisan support from Members of both Houses, obstruction from a vocal minority in Congress has prevented the Bank from having the quorum necessary to operate at full capacity for more than two years.
The bipartisan, Republican-led amendment adopted in the Appropriations Committee would have temporarily modified the Export-Import Bank’s quorum requirement to allow it to support transactions of all sizes and clear its significant backlog.
For all of these reasons, we cannot allow Mr. Hensarling to undermine the will of the House, and strip this critical job-creating amendment from the underlying bill.
The Chair ruled in favor of Chairman Hensarling’s point of order.
Last week, Ranking Member Waters, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Democratic Whip, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade, and Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA), Financial Services Committee Member, wrote to Congressman Pete Sessions, Chairman of the Committee on Rules, asking him to reject Chairman Jeb Hensarling's request to eliminate the bipartisan amendment to temporarily modify the Export-Import Bank’s quorum requirement. The amendment was adopted by the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee by a voice vote. The amendment was subsequently adopted by the full Appropriations Committee by a voice vote.