Today, at a full Committee hearing entitled, “Promoting American Jobs: Reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank,” Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following opening statement:
As Prepared for Delivery
Today this Committee convenes for a hearing to discuss the revival and long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (EXIM), which plays an important role in the U.S. government’s efforts to support American jobs, maintains the vitality of critical industry sectors, and thwarts the movement of manufacturing production overseas.
For 85 years, the EXIM Bank has helped U.S. exporters compete in the global markets by assuming credit risk that the private sector is unable or unwilling to accept, and by helping U.S. firms compete on an equal footing against foreign competitors who have access to generous export financing through their own government export credit agencies.
Over the last 10 years, EXIM financed more than $255 billion in U.S. exports, supported more than 1.5 million American jobs, and remitted more than $3.4 billion in deficit reducing receipts to the Treasury.
Despite its numerous contributions to our economy, this critically important institution has repeatedly found itself under attack.
In July 2015, the previous Chairman of this Committee allowed the Bank’s charter to lapse for the first time in the Bank’s 81-year history. After months of hard work, Reps. Heck, Moore, Hoyer and I joined an overwhelming majority of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle in voting to renew EXIM’s operating charter through September 30, 2019.
The reauthorization legislation mandated a number of important reforms, including provisions to boost the share of financing for small businesses and ensure that EXIM maintains its fiscal soundness.
Although EXIM had finally been reauthorized, Republican Senate leadership refused to confirm the directors of EXIM’s board, thereby denying the board the required quorum to approve transactions over $10 million.
Without the ability to consider the full range of transactions pending approval, EXIM reported that $40 billion worth of transactions, which would support an estimated 250,000 jobs, languished in its approval pipeline. Fortunately, last month, the Senate finally confirmed three new board members of EXIM bank, reviving the agency.
Failure to reauthorize and strengthen EXIM would result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs, as U.S. exporters suffer declining overseas sales. This includes thousands of small and medium sized businesses across the country.
Without a strong and competitive EXIM, companies may be forced to move jobs to locations where export credit is still available, and American workers will suffer.
Additionally, this will undermine America’s manufacturing base, which, in turn, will negatively impact America’s industrial production capacity that is critical to our economic growth and international competitiveness.
I look forward to today’s discussion on ways to support U.S. workers and ensure our exporters will get the certainty they need to grow, compete globally and keep good jobs here at home.