NAM: Manufacturers and supporters call for Ex-Im reauthorization

The Washington Times (6/4, Madden) reports that Ex-Im Bank supporters are “increasingly confident” that there are enough votes to pass legislation to reauthorize the Bank, with Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) saying, “If it gets to the floor, it will pass” and adding that he is “befuddled” why his colleagues don’t support reauthorization. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons stated that allowing the Bank’s charter to expire would be akin to “total economic disarmament,” noting that the “limited” government support that the Bank provides “gives companies a ‘fair shot’ against ‘aggressive foreign competitors.’” The Times adds that over 1,000 organizations voiced their support for the Ex-Im Bank in letters to Congress on Wednesday, with one such letter saying that failure to reauthorize the Bank would put US companies “at a unique disadvantage in global markets, resulting immediately in lost sales and lost jobs.”

According to The Hill (6/4, Cirilli), on Wednesday the manufacturing industry “defended the Export-Import Bank against attacks from Sen. Elizabeth Warren” (D-MA) and her calls for the Ex-Im Bank to be “accountable if it fails to reach” goals for financing small business. Timmons responded to Warren’s comments, saying, “Senator, thank you for your concern, but this is a solution in search of a problem.” Timmons also noted a recent discussion with a lawmaker who said he was looking forward to campaigning on his support for the Ex-Im Bank because voting to reauthorize the Bank would mean voting for jobs. Vermeer Corp. Senior Director Daryl Bouwkamp added that smaller companies like his “benefit when big businesses like Boeing secure Ex-Im financing because smaller businesses are part of the economic supply-chain,” meaning that requiring the Bank to meet certain ratios may “actually work in the contrary to its intent,” reported The Hill.

A piece in Roll Call (6/3, Dumain) also noted Republican support for Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, reporting that a group of five Republicans took part in a NAM-hosted news conference to “urg[e] their GOP colleagues to take a stronger stand against hardliners” who seek to let the Bank’s charter expire. Also during the conference, Timmons stated, “It’s clear the Ex-Im Bank has become sort of a litmus test for politicians. Well, we have a message for Congress: For job creators and manufacturers, it truly is. You’re either with us or you’re against us.” The article reported that while Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), an opponent of the Bank, has given “no indication he will bring up a reauthorization bill for a vote” in his committee, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has indicated the House would “consider whatever Ex-Im Bank reauthorization the Senate can pass.”

A press release by the National Association of Manufacturers (6/4, Micetich) reports that a letter coordinated by the NAM and over 1,000 companies and business groups throughout the nation “urged Congress for quick action on a long-term reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.” The full letter, noted in several articles above, is available here.

An article in the Thursday’s Washington Trade Daily reports that congressmen that support the Ex-Im Bank are “scrambling to find an appropriate legislative vehicle that will ensure the Bank’s reauthorization.” Lawmakers have suggested placing the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization bill with a defense reauthorization measure or a highway bill, though delayed timelines and possible controversies have stalled such possibilities. As lawmaker seek the best avenue, the Trade Daily notes the Ex-Im President Hochberg received both “verbal beatings and rounds of praise” for the Bank’s actions, with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling decrying the Bank during a committee hearing while Maxine Waters (D-CA) “urg[ing] the chairman to stop playing a dangerous game of political brinkmanship.” Meanwhile, the Trade Daily notes that the NAM and other manufacturing executives showed up at the Capital “in force yesterday to lobby for the Bank.”

The Politico (6/3, Everett) “Huddle” blog reported on the press conference by the NAM and lawmakers on the Ex-Im Bank on Wednesday, and discussed the possible avenues by which the Ex-Im Bank legislation could become part of a larger defense or transportation bill.

The Hill (6/4, Cirilli) “Overnight Finance” blog noted comments made by the NAM and others at the NAM-hosted conference, indicating that such comments “are a preview of what Ex-Im Chairman Fred Hochberg could say [Thursday] when he faces Warren during a Senate hearing.”

WBJournal: Ex-Im Bank Aids Many More Businesses Than It Hinders. The Washington Business Journal (6/4, Hoover, Subscription Publication) reports that trade groups and businesses are “ramping up their lobbying efforts to preserve the Ex-Im Bank,” which the Journal finds typically assists many more businesses than it hinders. The Journal notes that “most of Ex-Im Bank’s deals support small businesses,” accounting for around 90 percent of the Bank’s transactions. Further, the Journal reports that 540 of the 3,330 small-business transactions performed by the Bank were for first-time users of the Bank, showing that the Bank is important “in jump-starting new small and medium-sized exporters,” according to testimony given by NAM Vice President Linda Dempsey at a Senate Banking Committee. At a NAM-hosted news conference, Click Bond CEO Karl Hutter noted that many of his company’s jobs are tied to Boeing and other Ex-Im Bank users, indicating that closing the Ex-Im Bank would negatively impact Click Bond and its 415 employees despite no direct connection. Additionally, the Journal reports how Iowa-based Vermeer Corp. depends on the Ex-Im Bank, though “infrequently,” to back financing in countries where their “banks often aren’t familiar with its type of products are reluctant to finance its customers’ purchases.”

Kirk: Losing Ex-Im Bank Could Threaten US Nuclear Industry. In a piece for The Hill (6/4), “Contributors” blog, Ron Kirk of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition writes that the world’s growing electricity market “needs America’s proven expertise, but the opportunity for American industry to supply that capability is at risk.” With more than 165 reactors in licensing or advanced planning processes worldwide, US nuclear energy suppliers are “poised to secure as much as $740 billion in this business.” But losing the Ex-Im Bank could “mean the loss of all that business and the economic benefits this can provide Americans.” Kirk adds that “nuclear energy increases stability abroad by providing a reliable supply of low-carbon electricity in countries where that simply doesn’t exist.” These countries “will be building new nuclear energy facilities, whether U.S. businesses are involved or not, and the Ex-Im Bank is essential in making this happen.”

Milbank: How GOP Radicalization Turned Party On Ex-Im Bank. In his column for the Washington Post (6/4), Dana Miibank says that while many Republicans three years ago backed the extension of the Ex-Im Bank’s charter, it is a sign of their radicalization that they now seem intent on shutting it down. Milbank notes that the GOP presidential candidates attempt “to harness the populist energy in the electorate” that features conservative “howling about corporate welfare.” The conservative populists “have, for the moment, bested the corporate interests” that conservatives previously supported. Milbank notes that Rep. Frank Lucas attemptsed to “talk sense into his hotheaded GOP colleagues,” saying that “Whether it is 14 days or 14 weeks or 14 months, this institution will be reauthorized.” He adds, however, that it may take US companies losing “substantial business around the world, to help us focus.”