Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly helped the Senate pass a bipartisan amendment last night that would reform and reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which serves as the official export credit agency of the United States and helps facilitate the export of American goods and services to international markets. The amendment advanced in the Senate by a vote of 64-29, and now is attached to the Senate legislation that would reauthorize federal highway and transit programs. Funding for federal highway and transit programs is set to expire on Friday July 31, 2015.
Donnelly, who serves on the Senate Banking Committee, said, “The Export-Import Bank is one step closer to being reopened. We can strengthen our economy by supporting small businesses and expanding export opportunities to allow more Hoosier and American companies to sell their products at home and overseas. The Export-Import Bank has helped to create jobs in Indiana and across the country in a fiscally responsible way, and that is why I hope the House will follow the Senate’s bipartisan action and vote to reauthorize the Bank.”
Because Congress failed to act, the Export-Import Bank charter expired on June 30, 2015, and the Bank has not been allowed to enter any new deals. On Friday, Donnelly helped introduce the bipartisan amendment that passed the Senate late Monday that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank’s charter until September 30, 2019. The amendment is identical to the bipartisan bill Donnelly helped introduce earlier this year.
In addition to renewing the Export-Import Bank, the amendment includes reforms that would:
- Reduce risk to taxpayers by requiring higher loan loss reserves;
- Boost small businesses by increasing the required lending to small businesses from 20 percent to 25 percent; and
- Increase transparency and oversight of Export-Import Bank practices by:
- Creating a Chief Risk Officer and a Risk Management Committee to oversee the Bank’s operations;
- Requiring the Inspector General to regularly audit the Bank’s risk management procedures; and
- Creating a non-political Chief Ethics Officer to oversee ethics practices of Bank “At a time when American companies often are competing in a game rigged by foreign currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, and insurmountable regulatory barriers, unilaterally eliminating our export credit agency just further handcuffs U.S. job creators and allows competitors in foreign countries to pick up the business. If the Ex-Im Bank no longer provides financing, foreign companies and countries, they’re still going to buy their goods and products—they need the products—but instead of buying a product made in Muncie, Indiana, they’ll purchase it in Russia or China. This is to me, the direct opposite of what Congress should be doing. It seems like up is down and down is up in this discussion.”Last year, Donnelly wrote an op-ed in The Hill about the importance of the Export-Import Bank to the economy, citing its impact on Indiana businesses, and he co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would have reauthorized the Export-Import Bank for five years. That bill was not considered by the Senate, and instead Congress passed a short-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank through June 30, 2015
- Donnelly is a longtime supporter of the Export-Import Bank. Last month during a speech on the U.S. Senate floor, Donnelly implored Congress to reauthorize the bank, saying,
- During its 80-plus year existence, the Export-Import Bank has garnered support from every President during that span and has been repeatedly renewed with bipartisan support by Congress.
- According to the Export-Import Bank, since 2007, the Bank has directly helped approximately 140 Hoosier companies export more than $4 billion in goods and services overseas.
- Since 1992, the Export-Import Bank has returned more than $7 billion in profits to the Treasury Department, with $675 million of that coming in fiscal year 2014. The Export-Import Bank approved $20.5 billion in authorizations in fiscal year 2014 alone, which supported an estimated $27.5 billion of U.S. exports and more than 164,000 U.S. jobs.