March 19, 2012
Washington, D.C.– Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the Export-Import Bank. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
This week the Senate resumes debate of a measure to improve innovators’ access to capital.
This bill passed the House on a bipartisan vote, and has President Obama’s support.
We could make this legislation even better by passing the modest consumer protections included in the substitute amendment we’ll consider tomorrow.
But member of both parties agree we should pass it quickly. We will finish work on this legislation this week.
It’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans standing on common ground for a change.
But while this IPO proposal will be good for businesses – helping give startups the flexibility they need to hire and grow – experts agree that its impact on job creation will be limited.
So it’s important Congress also reauthorize the Export-Import Bank – or Ex-Im Bank – right away.
Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank will help American exporters compete in a global economy and sell more of their products overseas.
Last year, Ex-Im Bank financing helped 3,600 private companies add almost 300,000 jobs in more than 2,000 communities.
That’s why the Ex-Im Bank has always enjoyed broad, bipartisan support.
The last time the Senate considered Export-Import Bank legislation, it was offered by a Republican Senator and passed by unanimous consent.
The reauthorization legislation we’ll vote on tomorrow is also bipartisan. It passed the Banking Committee unanimously.
It has three Republican co-sponsors and the strong backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Yet I have read that some of my Republican colleagues don’t want to advance this bipartisan measure.
Instead they want to start yet another drawn-out fight over a proposal that passed unanimously last time the Senate considered it.
So let’s review what’s at stake. Unless Congress acts, the Ex-Im Bank may hit its lending limit this month.
American exporters could no longer rely on an even playing field with global competitors.
The Ex-Im Bank loans money to American outfits when private lending is not available. Its investments made $41 billion in U.S. exports possible last year alone.
That’s why Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg [Haak-berg] says our competitors abroad “are licking their chops” at the idea that America would stop backing businesses that sell their products overseas.
Many of the companies that are growing and hiring because of Export-Import Bank financing are small businesses. But the CEOs of large outfits such as Boeing, American Express, Johnson and Johnson, Caterpillar, GE and Motorola are also on record supporting the Em-Im Bank.
American entrepreneurs can’t afford for Congress to give up on them now. China already provides three to four times as much financing as we do to help to their exporters.
We must continue to give American businesses a fair shot to compete in a global market.
Since the Ex-Im Bank doesn’t add a penny to the deficit, there is no excuse for Republicans not to support it.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says this common-sense legislation would actually reduce the deficit by almost $1 billion.
It’s critical we pass the IPO bill to help businesses access capital. But it’s even more important we reauthorize the job-creating Export-Import Bank, which helps those companies compete abroad.
The Ex-Im Bank proposal will support hundreds of thousands more jobs than the small business capital bill.
Democrats brought this measure to the floor in an effort to find more common ground.
And passing it together would be another accomplishment both parties could be proud of.