As the House completed votes on final passage of H.R. 22, and with it the four-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, hosted a press conference to mark the long-awaited renewal of the export credit agency.
Waters discussed the many ways she and other supporters have worked to achieve reauthorization of the Bank, which has helped support hundreds of thousands of American jobs and enabled thousands of U.S. export businesses to compete in foreign markets.
At the event, the top Democrat was joined by Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD); Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Gwen Moore (D-WI); Executive Vice President of Government Affairs of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Bruce Josten; Chief of Staff of the International Association of Machinists and Aero-space Workers (IAM) Owen Herrnstadt; and Virginia-based small business Ex-Im customer and CEO of Gatekeeper, Inc. Christopher A. Millar.
Full text of Waters’ remarks is below.
“Thank you so much to Whip Hoyer, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, and representatives from the business and labor communities for being here today, and for all your efforts in the hard-won battle to revive the Export-Import Bank and make a long-term reauthorization of this job-creating agency a reality.
As the Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Export-Import Bank, I could not be more proud that we will soon be sending legislation to the President’s desk to renew the charter of the Ex-Im Bank, which expired five months ago.
Two years ago, we realized we would have a real fight on our hands if we were going to keep the Bank alive. So we organized and worked with labor groups such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and with leading industry groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
We also worked with numerous small business users of the bank and small business suppliers who rely on the Bank to compete in the global markets. I am so pleased that many of these important stakeholders are here with us today.
To say that we took every opportunity possible to push for the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank would be an understatement. By joining with House Republicans -- led by Representatives Fincher and Lucas -- we were able to use an historic discharge petition process to overcome the obstruction of a small band of extreme anti-government members, who at that point had actually succeeded in shutting the Bank down.
But by working in solidarity with members across the aisle -- and with a great deal of perseverance – we showed that a determined majority of committed members will always prevail.
To better understand the challenges our exporters face, and to focus attention on the importance of reauthorizing the Bank, I hosted roundtable discussions both in my district and here in Washington, and I’ve taken every opportunity possible within the Financial Services Committee and on the House Floor to call for action to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.
And yet, over the past five months, the news got worse each day. For example, several major satellite contracts were lost to foreign competitors; a number of businesses, both large and small, were forced to let workers go, and foreign competitors began to urge American exporters to move their operations to Canada or overseas to Europe and China, where export credit financing was readily available.
There's no question that the shutdown of the Ex-Im Bank has done great damage to American businesses and workers and to our economic recovery.
At last, we can now put this painful period behind us – a period during which more than 9 billion dollars of export transactions pending Bank approval were frozen, and a period during which U.S. companies lost contracts to foreign competitors, and American workers lost their jobs.
With today’s vote in the House, and the imminent vote in the Senate, our exporters and countless U.S. workers will soon get the financing tools and the certainty they need to grow and to compete globally and keep good jobs here at home.
With that, I would now like to thank our distinguished Democratic Leader, the Honorable Nancy Pelosi whose leadership on this issue was so critical in ensuring that we were able to successfully reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you Whip Hoyer.”