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JOHNSON CALLS FOR SWIFT PASSAGE OF THE BIPARTISAN EXPORT-IMPORT BANK REAUTHORIZATION ON THE SENATE FLOOR

May 10, 2012

WASHINGTON – Today Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) took to the Senate floor to call on his colleagues to quickly pass bipartisan Export-Import Bank Reauthorization legislation which supports nearly 300,000 American jobs. The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States and it assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. Chairman Johnson was the author of similar legislation in the Senate that was used as a framework for the House bill currently being debated in the Senate.  Chairman Johnson has worked hard with Senate leadership to see that a bill is passed and signed into law before the Ex-Im Bank’s authorization expires at the end of this month.
 
Below are Chairman Johnson’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
 
“Mr. President: I rise today in support of H.R. 2072, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012.  I believe that this jobs legislation will help provide U.S. exporters and workers with an important tool to compete in the global marketplace.  
 
“The Export-Import Bank is the official export credit agency of the U.S., and it assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. Following the financial crisis, the Bank experienced a dramatic increase in its activities as many companies struggled to find financing in the private market. Last year the Bank committed almost $33 billion in support of U.S. exports—a new record.
 
“The Bank has been self-funding since 2008, returning nearly $2 billion to the Treasury. In Fiscal Year 2011 alone, the Bank generated $400 million to offset federal spending and bring down the budget deficit. When other countries are helping their own companies with export financing, we cannot afford to “unilaterally disarm” in the face of this global competition.
 
“The Export-Import Bank’s charter directs it to use exports to support American jobs. And last year, the Export-Import Bank supported almost 290,000 American jobs. These are jobs in cities and towns across the nation, at large companies as well as small businesses.  In fact, last year the Export-Import Bank financed more than $6 billion in exports by small businesses. In my home state of South Dakota, Ex-Im has worked with small and large businesses to help export goods all over the world. 
 
“Last September there was unanimous bipartisan support when we passed a four-year reauthorization bill out of the Banking Committee. Unfortunately, that measure was blocked on the Senate floor in March. 
 
“The legislation before us today reflects a bipartisan compromise developed in the House.  While this bill is not perfect, I believe it is important to pass this legislation and ensure that the Export-Import Bank is able to continue providing financing assistance to American exporters and workers.  This is a jobs bill.  Earlier this week, the House passed this bill by an overwhelming majority 330-93. 
 
“This bill extends the authorization of the Bank until 2014.  Like the Senate bill, this legislation will increase the Bank’s lending authority to $140 billion.  This is a significant improvement over earlier drafts in the House to only increase the cap to $113 billion.  Adopting the Senate’s proposed lending authority limit helped to improve this bill. There are also additional provisions in the House bill similar to provisions in the Senate bill that will add transparency and accountability requirements for the Bank, improve the Bank’s information technology infrastructure, extend the Bank’s Sub-Saharan African Advisory Panel, and provides for greater oversight of the Bank’s financing and any risks it might have to taxpayers.  
 
“I am also pleased that the House included language that strengthens restrictions against companies doing business with Iran.  These provisions, which reflect an earlier agreement by the House and Senate Committees of jurisdiction, are vital to our efforts to increase the pressure on Iran’s illicit nuclear program.  I believe they are important provisions that strengthen the bill and I am glad that the House included them. 
 
“Lastly, the legislation includes the Senate’s language on domestic content.  This language, which is supported by labor groups, has important protections in it to ensure that goods exported by the Bank continue to be made in America. Although there were efforts in the House to weaken this provision, I am pleased to see the House accepted the Senate’s position on this important issue.  
 
“After multiple short-term extensions, I am relieved to see that this Congress will finally reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.  I believe that by reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank we are taking an important step in supporting American businesses and workers.  I commend Minority Whip Hoyer and Majority Leader Cantor in the House for coming to an agreement.  I also want to thank Majority Leader Reid for his tireless efforts in working to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.
 
“As Chairman of the Banking Committee, over the next few years, I will continue to closely monitor the efforts of the Export-Import Bank to ensure that it is effectively and efficiently supporting American exporters and workers.  Today, I urge all my colleagues to support this legislation.” 
 
 
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