Export-Import Bank reauthorization deadline approaches; WA economy has much at stake

The Seattle Times reports on the Congressional battle over reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

Key Republicans in the House of Representatives stepped up their assault on the Export-Import Bank on Wednesday, vowing to kill the federal bank that helps U.S. businesses sell their products overseas.

In this case, it could be an easy lift for bank opponents: Without a vote to extend its charter, the bank will be forced to shut down June 30.

The Times points out,

No state, by far, has more on the line than Washington: Led by Boeing, 234 of the state’s companies have lined up financing for exports valued at $135 billion since 2007, accounting for nearly half the bank’s total lending.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a countdown clock to the Ex-Im Bank expiration on its website. At this writing, the clock says 26 days and 13 hours. Among the many reasons the Chamber endorses reauthorization:

  • U.S. jobs rely on exports. In fiscal year 2014, Ex-Im Bank provided financing or guarantees for $27.5 billion in U.S. exports, thereby supporting more than 164,000 American jobs.

The National Association of Manufacturing also urges reauthorization.

1,053 organizations from across the country signed on to a letter to Congress to urge support for long-term reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank before its charter expires on June 30.

“If Ex-Im is not reauthorized before June 30, American companies would be put at a unique disadvantage in global markets, resulting immediately in lost sales and lost jobs. U.S. businesses of all sizes would be deprived of a vital financing source at a time when boosting exports is increasingly vital to growing our nation’s economy and jobs.”

Among the 1,053 signing the June 3 letter are major Washington business associations, including the Association of Washington Business, the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, Greater Spokane Incorporated, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, the Tri-Cities Regional Chamber of Commerce, theWashington Council on International Trade, Washington Retail Association, and the Washington Roundtable. (Apologies to those we may have missed; it’s a long list.)

With 27 other governors, Gov. Jay Inslee has written Congress in support of reauthorization. 

The Ex-Im Bank plays a key role in expanding the culture of opportunity and shared prosperity. As the governors’ letter says,

The Ex-Im Bank allows our companies and workers to compete on a level playing field against international competitors who receive extensive support from their own export credit agencies.”

AWB has put together a series of videos featuring Washington business owners and employees explaining how the Ex-Im Bank affects them.