In less than 60 days, the authorization for the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank will expire and jeopardize billions of dollars of American exports. The Ex-Im Bank is an independent and self-sustaining agency that provides financing for exporting American goods and services when private banks are unable to do so. In fiscal year 2013, the Bank supported $37.4 billion in American exports from 3,413 exporters, with 90% of the transactions involving small businesses. Since 2007, the Bank has supported over $111 billion in exports from Washington State alone, boosting a wide range of industries from aerospace to agriculture. The Bank operates from fees that it charges, and returned over $1 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year, after covering its operating expenses. Over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the Bank will return about $14 billion.
The Ex-Im Bank helps American companies who want to expand and sell their products overseas through direct loans, loan guarantees, working capital finance, and export credit insurance. Many other countries have official export credit agencies similar to the Ex-Im Bank supporting exports, and the Bank plays a critical role in ensuring that American goods and services remain competitive. In the last fiscal year, the Bank supported more than 200,000 jobs spread across all 50 states.
Continuing to support these jobs without uncertainty or gaps in authorization is key to economic growth, and that is why it is critical that Congress acts immediately to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. If Congress fails to act by September 30th, businesses across the country will suffer, and it will be much more difficult for companies here at home to sell products around the world that are stamped with the phrase: “Made in America.”
Reauthorizing the Bank has always been routine. According to the Congressional Research Service, the Ex-Im Bank’s authorization has been extended 45 times since 1945. It is time to give American businesses the confidence they need by giving the Bank the authority to continue operating with the funds that they themselves raise.
Throughout the month of August, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) will be calling on Congress to put politics aside and reauthorize the Bank to help keep our businesses competitive in the global marketplace.