March 20, 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:
For years the Export-Import Bank has helped American companies grow and sell their products overseas. And for years, the Ex-Im Bank has enjoyed broad, bipartisan support.
When it was last authorized in 2006, the Ex-Im bank passed the House by voice vote and the Senate by unanimous consent.
So when Senate Democrats brought a reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank to the floor last week, we hoped the legislation would receive bipartisan, bicameral support – as it did in 2006.
After all, the measure will support about 300,000 jobs and help American exporters continue to compete in a global economy.
It passed the Banking Committee unanimously.
It has three Republican co-sponsors.
It’s backed by the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Round Table and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
And it will actually reduce the deficit by about $1 billion.
The Ex-Im Bank is one of those proposals we shouldn’t have to argue over.
But true to form, Republicans in the House are once again spoiling for a fight where there shouldn’t be one.
Yesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called our bill to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank a “partisan amendment.”
And he claimed this non-controversial, common-sense measure is derailing efforts to pass an IPO bill that would expand innovators’ access to capital. That’s just not true.
Leader Cantor should check in with his Senate colleagues.
Many of them understand American exporters need access to federal financing to stay on a level playing field with global competitors.
Just yesterday, the Senior Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, said without the Ex-Im Bank “our ability to grow in South Carolina is non-existent.”
In 2011, South Carolina exporters sold more than $130 million worth of goods abroad thanks to Ex-Im Bank financing.
And South Carolina isn’t the only state relying on the Bank to keep businesses thriving.
Nevada companies exported $33 million worth of their products last year thanks to financing from the Export-Import Bank.
In 2011, in the Presiding Officer’s home state of Delaware, the Ex-Im Bank made it possible for private firms to sell more than $39 million worth of goods overseas.
Last year, the Ex-Im Bank supported almost 300,000 jobs across 49 states.
China already provides more investment capital to its exporters than the United States, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom combined, as Senator Graham said yesterday during a conference call in support of this legislation.
We cannot allow that gulf to widen.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says, “Failure to reauthorize Ex-Im would amount to America’s unilateral disarmament in the face of other nations’ aggressive trade finance programs.”
American companies have no choice but to go head-to-head with these Chinese exporters.
But in this Chamber we do have a choice: we can compete, or we can cooperate.
We can engage in yet another unnecessary, unproductive battle. Or we can work together to help American businesses grow and hire. The choice shouldn’t be difficult.
The Senate will vote on this reasonable proposal today.
Almost 300,000 Americans had jobs last year because of the Export-Import Bank. I hope those workers come first as Republican colleagues cast their votes this afternoon.
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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