Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, delivered the following floor statement on H.R. 4863, the United States Export Finance Agency Act of 2019, a bill she introduced to reauthorize and improve the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, which supports American workers, businesses and the economy.
As Prepared for Delivery
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4863, the United States Export Finance Agency Act of 2019.
H.R. 4863 reauthorizes and makes key improvements to the job-creating Export-Import Bank (EXIM). Let me begin by describing why the EXIM Bank is so important. The EXIM Bank was established 85 years ago and is the official export credit agency of the United States. Its mission is to promote the export of U.S. goods and services in order to help create and sustain jobs in the United States. Over the last ten years, the EXIM Bank has supported more than 1.5 million American jobs at no cost to the taxpayer, financed more than $255 billion in U.S. exports, and remitted more than $3.4 billion in deficit reducing receipts to the Treasury.
In my district, the EXIM Bank is currently financing $269 million worth of exports from 13 different exporters, including 10 small businesses.
EXIM does not compete with the private sector but instead fills in gaps when the private sector lacks the capacity or willingness to provide the financing required by U.S. exporters. During the financial crisis, the EXIM Bank was an important source of financing when private capital was simply unavailable to many businesses. EXIM estimates that during fiscal year 2010, in the depths of the financial crisis, it supported 227,000 jobs at more than 3,300 companies.
The Bank also plays a key role in leveling the international playing field by offsetting the financing offered by foreign export credit agencies. EXIM Bank is one of more than 100 export credit agencies around the world that help their home-country exporters compete in the global markets.
If we fail to reauthorize the bank, American businesses will be harmed, and thousands of jobs will be lost. Unfortunately, in 2015, the Republican leadership in the House allowed the Bank’s charter to expire for the first time in the Bank’s history. At that time, a number of countries, including China, celebrated the Bank’s closure because of the competitive advantage it gave them over U.S. businesses and workers. Later, Republicans in the Senate hobbled EXIM for four years by refusing to confirm board directors, which prevented them from having a quorum. EXIM reported that it was unable to approve $40 billion worth of transactions during this period, which would have supported an estimated 250,000 jobs.
H.R. 4863 is intended to renew the confidence of U.S. exporters in the EXIM Bank, while also sending a message to the world that the U.S. is ready and prepared to aggressively compete in overseas export markets.
H.R. 4863 reauthorizes the EXIM Bank for ten years and increases the Bank’s lending authority from $135 billion to $175 billion. The bill strengthens support for small businesses, which are the engines of growth in our economy, and it creates an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, as well as an Office of Territorial Exporting to support exporters in Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other U.S. territories.
The bill also focuses the Bank’s attention on protecting the environment by creating an office for renewable energy exports; strengthening the Bank’s Environmental Policies and Procedures; and encouraging greater accountability with respect to local communities that could be negatively affected by Bank-supported projects.
Importantly, H.R. 4863 also includes procedures to avoid a lapse in the Board’s quorum so that the Bank can maintain its full operational capacity, even when the Senate is unable to confirm board directors.
The bill includes a number of provisions to ensure that EXIM financing does not inadvertently support bad actors. For example, the bill prohibits financing for the Chinese military, the Chinese intelligence services, and other bad actors, including anyone who has criminally violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or has violated U.S. intellectual property laws. Moreover, H.R. 4863 would require the parties to an EXIM transaction to certify that neither they nor any of their subsidiaries engage in activities in violation of U.S. sanctions laws.
Mr. Chairman, it is imperative that we reauthorize the EXIM bank so U.S. businesses, large and small, will have the financing support they need to compete in the global markets while preserving and creating American jobs at home.
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