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NAM’s Timmons: Congress must reauthorize Ex-Im to support American competitiveness

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons writes in an ideaslaboratory.com (7/25) opinion piece that he, along with “thousands of businesses of all sizes in congressional districts across the nation can’t understand why Washington is threatening to let Ex-Im’s charter expire.” Timmons states that the Bank has helped American businesses compete with foreign companies, and that over 865 businesses and associations attested to the importance of the Bank in a letter to Congress last week. “It’s nonsensical that manufacturers in America…would lose out to foreign competitors simply because other countries are willing to offer better financing terms,” writes Timmons. He emphasizes that without the Bank, some manufacturers “have no shot at competing” against their foreign competition. “America’s manufacturers can’t afford to forfeit a critical tool that supports their competitiveness,” he says. Timmons calls shutting down the Bank “a gift to foreign producers” and would reduce exports, and manufacturing jobs here in the US. He closes saying, “Manufacturers urge Congress to act quickly in reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank’s charter before U.S. companies are disadvantaged and American jobs are lost.”

Senate Considers Tying Ex-Im Reauthorization To Government Funding. The Hill (7/24, Cirilli) reports Democrats “have rallied around renewing” the Export-Import Bank and are pushing for its inclusion as part of a bill to fund the government, which Congress must pass by the end of September. The continuing resolution is “a big weapon” for Democrats in their effort to generate support for the Bank from Republicans, and it will allow them to go on the offensive. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) withheld a bill that would have reauthorized the Bank in order to better consider tying the measure to a continuing resolution. Ex-Im supporters believe that there is a broad coalition of centrist Republicans and business groups such as the NAM that support the Bank and will push for its reauthorization.

Sen. Brown: Reauthorize Ex-Im. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) writes in the Brown County (OH) News-Democrat (7/25) that “Congress must reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank to ensure that Ohio companies” can benefit from export opportunities. American companies, he writes, “need support now more than ever” and the loss of the Ex-Im Bank will disadvantage American companies since it levels the playing field against global competition. He urges Congress to act before the expiration deadline “so business owners can focus on exporting their products instead of worrying about their financing.”

The Augusta (VA) Free Press (7/25) reports Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) made remarks on the Senate floor Thursday calling for the reauthorization of the US Ex-Im Bank. Kaine highlighted how Ex-Im provides “critical financing” for Virginia businesses at no cost to taxpayers. “I have heard from everybody in Virginia, from Governor McAuliffe to the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to both the National and Virginia Association of Manufacturers, saying, ‘Whatever you do, find an agreement to authorize the continuation of this very important bank,’” Kaine said. The article runs a full transcript of Kaine’s comments.

Bill Arnold, current Rice University professor and formerly head of international government relations in Washington, D.C., for Royal Dutch Shell, writes a Houston Chronicle (7/25, Arnold) op-ed arguing that “now is not the time to make rash decisions” about the Ex-Im Bank, as its contributions to ensuring American competitiveness against other countries “over the past century has simply been too great.” As a former Senior Vice President of the Ex-Im Bank, he attests to the large number of small businesses the Bank supports. He writes that the current “appetite for export credits” that don’t have government backing is “likely to be modest” now, and the Bank will be needed, especially for smaller companies.

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