June 04, 2015

Shelby Opening Statement on Oversight of the Export-Import Bank of the United States

WASHINGTON, DC – Thursday, June 4, 2015 – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, today delivered opening remarks during a full committee hearing on “Oversight of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.”
The text of Chairman Shelby’s remarks, as prepared, is below.  
“On Tuesday, the Committee heard a range of perspectives from a panel of experts and industry representatives who testified on the future of the Export-Import Bank.
“Today, the Committee will receive the testimony of Fred P. Hochberg, President and Chairman of the Bank, as we consider any next steps in light of Ex-Im’s expiring authorization.
“As I said earlier this week, after years of calls to reform the Bank, I am not convinced that a long-term reauthorization is merited. 
“Many criticisms of Ex-Im involve failures in risk management, which are particularly disturbing considering the 40 percent increase in Ex-Im’s exposure limit, which I opposed in 2012.
“At a hearing last year, the Inspector General testified on concerns related to ‘…several challenges facing the Export-Import Bank in managing the risks inherent in its core business activities.’
“In recent years, both the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office have identified hundreds of recommendations related to Ex-Im’s financial and operational weaknesses. 
“I understand that Mr. Hochberg will address several of these in his testimony before us today.
“It goes without saying that taxpayers should not be asked to backstop Ex-Im’s over-$110 billion portfolio if the Bank cannot adequately manage its risk of loss. 
“Much has been said about how Ex-Im historically returns money to the taxpayer each year.  This does not take into account losses that could occur based on a variety of factors, including economic uncertainty and Ex-Im’s disproportionate exposure to several industries, geographic areas, and large, single foreign customers. 
“Any discussion of the Bank’s future must include a serious examination of whether or not Ex-Im can substantially improve its accounting for these and other risks. 
“I am concerned that the reforms that are necessary may simply not be achievable. 

“Nevertheless, I look forward to Mr. Hochberg’s remarks today as the Committee takes another hard look at the Export-Import Bank.”