President Obama Calls for Re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank

Ryan Loftis By Ryan Loftis, 23rd Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3971or_m/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Politics

A report of President Obama calling for Congress to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank, which provides American businesses with financing to help them be competitive in the global market.

Obama: "We Cannot Leave These Businesses Hanging"

A dubious piece of history was made on July 1. The Export-Import Bank of the United States, the country's official export credit agency, saw its authority lapse for the first time in 81 years because Congress had failed to re-authorize it.

The Export-Import Bank, according to a White House fact sheet, is a "critical tool in the bipartisan trade agenda that helps U.S. businesses succeed in global markets and grow their exports." The financing it provides helps companies "go toe-to-toe with foreign rivals, resulting in more exports and more well-paying jobs in cities and towns here in America rather than overseas." The fact sheet also states that over the last six years the Export-Import Bank has financed more than $200 billion in American exports and supported more than 1.3 million private-sector American jobs - jobs that on average pay as much as 18 percent more than other jobs.

Not only was the Bank previously re-authorized 16 times - as recently as 2012 it was unanimously supported by Democrats and approximately 60 percent of Republicans in the House and the Senate - 13 presidents on both sides of the aisle supported it. Liberal John F. Kennedy declared in July 1963 that the Bank had "created a wholly new program of export financing which now provides U.S. business with credit facilities equal to any in the world." Conservative Ronald Reagan said in January 1984 that exports "create and sustain jobs for millions of American workers and contribute to the growth and strength of the United States economy. The Export-Import Bank contributes in a significant way to our nation's export sales."

Following a meeting with small business owners on July 22, President Obama addressed the media. Seated at a table in the Roosevelt Room, Obama said, "This is not an issue that typically rises to the front page of the newspapers, but for these businesses and for their employees and for the communities that they serve, this is vital." He stressed that taxpayers don't subsidize companies the Export-Import Bank helps. "In fact, at the end of the day, we have a situation in which the U.S. Treasury is benefiting while at the same time allowing these companies to sell their products overseas." Calling it a "shame" that the program's long history of bipartisan support had ended, Obama said, "Every other advanced country on Earth has a program like this in order to promote their businesses when they're selling overseas. And for us to be the only country that leaves these outstanding companies high and dry makes absolutely no sense."

Besides being nonsensical, going without such a program have far-reaching consequences. "This also affects every community in the country - there's a reason why we’ve got the mayors of Mobile, Ala., and Mesa, Ariz., here," Obama said. "You’ve got small companies - or small companies and small towns in Texas that are being affected. You’ve got small companies in Portland, New Hampshire, Maine. From coast to coast, people are being affected by this, and we heard stories from these companies right now that orders are on hold, business is in danger, potentially expansions will stall, fewer employees will be hired if we do not get this done."

Obama's message to Congress: Take action before adjourning for the summer recess. "We cannot leave these businesses hanging; we cannot unilaterally disarm. Most importantly, we can’t have American workers losing jobs because Congress doesn’t act or because of some ideological arguments that don’t make any sense and don’t match up with the facts. So I feel very strongly about this. I know it’s not as interesting as some of the other issues and Donald Trump and all that, but I’ll tell you what, this is actually something that matters to people on the ground. And I’m hoping that we really stay focused on this until Congress re-authorized."

Tags

Congress, Export-Import Bank, President Obama

Meet the author

author avatar Ryan Loftis
I graduated from Central Michigan University with a journalism degree and have been a freelance writer for various print and online publications since then.

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