WASHINGTON (July 23, 2015) — A report released July 22 by the U.S. Congress' Joint Economic Committee (JEC) Democrats cites the role of the Export-Import Bank in helping small businesses sell their products overseas.
The report found that the Ex-Im Bank levels the global economic playing field for all U.S. businesses, returns money to the Treasury, and helps small firms obtain loans when they otherwise couldn't get them from commercial banks.
“Let's be blunt: shutting down Ex-Im is unilateral economic disarmament,” said JEC Ranking Democrat, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. “The bottom line is that more exports mean more U.S. jobs and faster economic growth. The Export-Import Bank helps us achieve those goals.”
While reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank has drawn wide support from Democrats in Congress — the bank's charter will expire at the end of September — Republicans and a coalition of conservative advocacy groups have slammed the Ex-Im and are calling for its de-funding.
The Conservative Action Project, a coalition of right-wing groups led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, recently drafted a memo urging Republicans in Congress to let the bank's charter expire. The memo, according to the National Journal, “is signed by the leaders of America's largest and best-funded conservative organizations, including Heritage Action, the Club for Growth, Citizens United, and FreedomWorks.”
The memo claims that the Ex-Im Bank “distorts the free market by providing loans to politically favored companies, at the expense of their competitors who receive no such help. It uses taxpayer dollars to subsidize goods and services that benefit foreign regimes, including Russia and China.
“To close the door to cronyism, the Export-Import Bank should not be reauthorized.”
The House Republican Conference is debating the bank's continued funding.
The JEC was created when Congress passed the Employment Act of 1946, according to the JEC's website. Under the act, Congress established two advisory panels — the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) and the JEC — with the primary tasks being to review economic conditions and to recommend improvements in economic policy.
Chairmanship of the committee alternates between the Senate and House every Congress. The chairman of the committee for the 114th Congress is Sen. Dan Coats, D-Ind.; the vice chair is Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas. Rep. Maloney is the committee's ranking member.
According to the JEC report, export growth has accounted for nearly 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product growth during the economic recovery. Exports supported nearly 12 million jobs in 2014, the highest number of jobs supported by exports on record, the report claimed.
The Ex-Im's programs, including loans and loan guarantees, supported 164,000 American jobs last fiscal year and $27.5 billion in U.S. exports, according to the JEC report. Since 2009, the bank has supported $217 billion in exports and 1.3 million jobs.
The committee's report also claims the Export-Import Bank:
• Levels the playing field for U.S. firms facing fierce competition from foreign companies backed by their own export credit agencies (ECAs). Eighty-five ECAs in more than 60 nations help businesses in their countries grab a larger share of the world's trade.
• Fills in the gaps in private-sector financing, which is particularly important during recessions — when credit can dry up. The dollar value of Ex-Im's transactions tripled between fiscal years 2007 and 2012, for example, as the bank stepped in to support U.S. exports during the recession and its immediate aftermath.
• Doesn't cost taxpayers a dime. Last fiscal year, the bank returned $675 million to the U.S. Treasury. Since 1992 it has sent $7 billion.
“An economy cannot sustain itself on domestic products alone,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. “We can only grow from the outside; we need to make it here, and sell it there.”
The JEC report went on to quote a number of supporters of Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, including:
• Rep. Alama Adams, D-N.C., who said it's “time to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank and invest in American businesses and American workers. The Export-Import Bank has helped local businesses export their goods for decades and is critical to our continued economic success.
“In North Carolina's 12th District alone, more than 800 jobs were supported from 2007 to 2014 because of the Export-Import Bank. Our companies and our workers deserve a fair chance to succeed in the global economy; I urge my colleagues to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.”
• Rep Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, said: “In the Third Congressional District of Ohio, 12 businesses have used the Bank between 2009 and 2015, supporting $58 million of exports. Seven of these entities are small businesses, one is minority owned, and one is women owned. Out of all the Export Import Bank's benefits — to me, more important than not costing taxpayers any money, boosting the local and national economy, or growing small businesses — is creating and supporting jobs.”
• Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich.: “American jobs are at risk if the Export-Import Bank continues to be shuttered. The Bank supports over a million U.S. jobs and thousands of small businesses across the country.
“Sadly the bank's reauthorization has become a victim of Washington's partisan gridlock, and it's our businesses and workers who stand to lose if it's not reauthorized. Failing to support the Export-Import Bank has already hurt our country's competitiveness, raised the federal deficit and threatened good-paying jobs right here at home.”
• Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., said: “The Export-Import Bank provides financing that allows American companies to compete on a global scale with foreign companies. Failure to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank will result in loss export opportunities, and U.S. businesses effectively ceding foreign sales and American jobs.
“I join my colleagues in the Joint Economic Committee in calling for House Republicans to put the American people over politics, and work for the betterment of our economy and country.”
Congress has voted, according to the JEC, 16 times in the past to renew the Ex-Im — during Republican and Democratic administrations. It quoted President Ronald Reagan as saying the bank “contributes in a significant way to our nation's export sales,” and President George W. Bush acknowledged that it “helps advance U.S. trade policy, facilitate the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad and create jobs here at home.”
The JEC said the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Small Business Association strongly support reauthorizing Ex-Im, as do majorities in both the House and Senate.
“It's time to put the economic interests of American businesses and workers over political ideologies,” Rep. Maloney said. “Let's work to renew Ex-Im's charter today, tomorrowand every day until we get it done.”
For a video of the JEC's press conference, click here.