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Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of Export-Import Bank Reauthorization

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 4863, the United States Export Finance Agency Act of 2019.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.  I thank the gentleman for yielding and I thank him for his leadership in bringing this amendment to the Floor.  It’s very important for us to quantify just what this means, as you require the agency to detail the effects of exports and projects – and ask why the agency – on American jobs in the energy and related field and industry – and industry.  This energy issue is an essential issue to so much of what commerce is about, especially in relationship to China, as we are discussing that today. 

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, for which nearly a century, has been a force for creating jobs, strengthening small businesses and advancing American entrepreneurship and ingenuity in the world. 

Madam Chair, thank you for your extraordinary leadership.  You’ve been relentless, persistent in working on this legislation, and for your lifetime commitment to creating good-paying jobs and powering growth that lifts up all communities.  How blessed we are that you are in the position that you are in, as our chair of the Financial Services Committee, having authority, the authorization power over the Ex-Im Bank. 

When I was on the Appropriations Committee, I chaired the Foreign-Ops [Subcommittee] which funded the Ex-Im Bank, so I know well the good work that the Ex-Im Bank does and, especially, reaches down into communities and small businesses and suppliers across the country. 

Let me just say this about China, Mr. McHenry.  You and I share some similar views on this subject, but I don’t think we should be sinking the bill over it.  I modestly say, as I have said to my colleagues yesterday, I take second place to no one in this Congress in criticizing China for their human rights violations. 

Whether it’s what they’re doing in Hong Kong now, anti-democratic actions; what they’re doing to Uyghurs, Muslims – one million, two million, three million, who knows how many people put into education camps and then putting other people in the homes of the people that they have put into the camps?  It is against humanity.  What they’re doing to – undermining the culture of Tibet, whether it’s religion, language, the culture of Tibet, to resettle Hans there, to dilute Tibetan culture. 

Whether what’s going on in – all throughout China, jailing journalists, human rights lawyers, Christians, democracy activists throughout the mainland.  So, that is something that I have fought China for 30 years.

I’ve also fought them on their trade policies for 30 years, as well; all of this since Tiananmen Square.  

When we first started this fight, China had a trade deficit of – we had a trade deficit with China of $5 billion a year, which I thought would be useful in trying to improve the human rights situation, freeing the prisoners of Tiananmen Square, gaining access to their markets, stopping their piracy of intellectual property and stopping their proliferation of technologies that could be used in weapons of mass destruction to our countries. 

Five billion a year.  ‘Oh, they would never want to give that up.  We could get concessions.’  But, the powers that be in corporate America and all demanded, ‘No, we couldn’t do that.  We just have peaceful revolution and that would lead to all this democratization and fairness in trade and stopping hostile activities regarding weapons of mass destruction and the rest.’  It didn’t, and here we are 30 years later. 

We won every vote in the House.  We couldn’t override vetoes of both Republican and Democratic Presidents.  I put it at both doorsteps. 

Here we are 30 years later.  The trade deficit is not $5 billion anymore.  It’s more than $5 billion a week.  A week.  So, I share your concerns about human rights and other policies with regard to China, but we cannot let China’s inhumanity and cruelty take a toll on America’s small businesses and our economic opportunities.  And so, as I say, I established those credentials to brag, because I was right, but also to say I worked with China on issues that relate to energy and climate and the rest of that, because they’re big players in that.  It’s very disappointing, because, as I have said, that for commercial purposes, if we decide to ignore the human rights violations perpetrated by China, we lose all moral authority to challenge anyone, anyplace.  And so, we continue to challenge them, but we cannot empower them to hurt our economy, and that is exactly what we would do today if we were to reject this reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank, because of China, because of China.   

I have saluted those who have put amendments forward providing financing for – the Bank will not provide financing for any individual sanctions, for human rights and free speech violations, including in China and including Hong Kong, or provide financing for those sanctions for opioid trafficking, human trafficking or sex trafficking. 

So, thank you, Madam Chair, for that, and I congratulate Congresswoman Torres, Congresswoman Torres Small, Congressman McAdams, Congressman Rose and Congressman Lamb for their leadership on so many pieces of improving this legislation.  

But, I do urge our colleagues to recognize what President Reagan said, ‘The Export-Import Bank – the Ex-Im Bank creates and sustains jobs for millions of American workers and contributes to the growth and strength of the United States economy.  The Export-Import Bank contributes in a significant way to our nation,’  Ronald Reagan. 

This legislation ensures that the Ex-Im Bank can continue to contribute to our nation’s strength in a way that is good for American workers, American businesses and our values.

I urge a strong bipartisan vote, and I, again, commend the Chairwoman for her extraordinary leadership in getting us to this point and associate myself with some of the concerns that Mr. McHenry has put forth. 

I yield back the balance of my time.  Thank you.

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