Heck hails record-breaking reauthorization for Export-Import Bank
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress passed an end-of-year spending package, Congressman Denny Heck drew attention to a significant win for American workers contained deep within the appropriations bill. The long-embattled Export-Import Bank of the United States, which provides financing for American-made goods sold overseas, received an extraordinary vote of confidence: a record-long extension and new protections against efforts to hamstring it by blocking nominees to its board of directors.
“This reauthorization will give the Bank the time and certainty it needs to rebuild its operations after the significant damage done by ideological attacks on it for the last decade,” said Heck. “After the last reauthorization, we learned some hard lessons, and my top priorities for the bill this year were a long term and a quorum fix. Getting both means American exporters can expand production for overseas customers, confident that Ex-Im will be there to support their sales.”
Heck served as the lead Democrat on the 2015 reauthorization bill in the face of intense, but narrow, opposition. While debate dragged out, the Bank’s authorization expired for five months, blocking all new business. After the bill passed and the Bank reopened, Senate opponents blocked all nominations to the Board of Directors, and, lacking a quorum, the Board was unable to meet from July 2015 to May 2019. Without a quorum, Ex-Im was unable to consider applications for any sale over $10 million.
The Export-Import Bank is the nation’s official export credit agency. It provides financing for exports of products made in America that cannot be financed by the private market — typically either goods sold by small businesses or long-lived capital equipment. During the 2014 closure no exports could be financed. In the following quorum lapse from 2015 to 2019, no large capital equipment could be financed. The bill that becomes law this week will guarantee that Ex-Im will be open to all applications through 2026.
“The effort to save Ex-Im was one of the things I’m most proud of,” continued Heck. “I support the Export-Import Bank because we want to see more U.S. exports. The international market for goods and services is three times as big as our domestic economy, and the gap is widening. The American economy has not historically been export-oriented, so targeting foreign markets and increasing exports holds untapped promise to raising living standards in every district in the country. If we want to keep our middle class, we better learn how to sell into the rest of the world’s growing middle class. Today’s vote shows that’s something we can agree on.”
Chartered by Congress in 1945, the Export-Import Bank has twice been reauthorized for six years (in 1947 and 1986). This seven-year reauthorization is the longest in its history.