Annual Conference Highlights Bipartisan Support For Ex-Im Bank

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Over the last two days, leaders in business, policy, and both political parties have joined together to discuss the importance of the Export-Import Bank at the EXIM Annual Conference 2018.

They heard from many keynote speakers like Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, a Republican. Secretary Ross spoke on the importance of the Export-Import Bank in helping U.S. small businesses sell more exports. He also warned how, without a functioning Ex-Im Bank, the United States would continue to cede jobs, growth, and geopolitical power to China as Beijing expands in overseas markets at America’s expense.  Another keynote speaker was Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat. She agreed. “We have got to have the institution of the Ex-Im Bank up and running to be competitive” Sen. Heitkamp said, noting that 82 other countries have a similar agency. Both Secretary Ross and Senator Heitkamp, and the many other business and hill voices, are absolutely right.

These latest bipartisan expressions of support for the Ex-Im Bank come on the heels of recent positive comments from policymakers as varied as Senator Sherrod Brown and President Donald Trump and they underline the critical role it plays for manufacturers in the United States—especially small manufacturers, given that more than 90 percent of the bank’s transactions in fiscal 2016 directly supporting small businesses. The Bank enables U.S. exporters to compete on a global scale for the 95 percent of consumers who are located outside our borders. In short, the Ex-Im Bank helps level the playing field for our businesses competing against foreign companies. But it cannot continue to level the playing field if it is not even allowed to function properly, which is the situation manufacturers face right now.  Indeed, the bank lacks a quorum on its board of directors, and thus is unable to even consider many transactions much less support American jobs.

Manufacturers and the many Americans whose jobs depend on the Export-Import Bank need the Senate to act to restore a quorum on the bank’s Board of Directors.  That’s what we have repeatedly urged. That’s what members of both parties  understand, and are echoing at this week’s conference. That’s what our country needs as soon as possible.