May 17, 2016

Brown Presses for Vote to Restore Export-Import Bank to Full Strength

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – today urged his Republican colleagues to act without further delay to restore the full authority of the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s board of directors. Brown met this afternoon with Mark McWatters, a Republican who was nominated in January at the suggestion of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to fill a vacancy on Ex-Im’s board.

With three empty seats on its five-member board, Ex-Im lacks a quorum, which means the bank cannot approve any medium- or long-term transactions – generally those valued over $10 million. As a result, Ex-Im has a $10 billion backlog of loan applications that need the board’s approval.

“The Export-Import Bank needs to function at full capacity so that it can help businesses of all sizes grow, create jobs, and compete in the global economy. It is outrageous that Senate Republican leaders have refused for four months to give Mr. McWatters, a rock-solid Republican, even a hearing in the Banking Committee, much less a confirmation vote,” said Brown. “The Senate must confirm Mr. McWatters so that Ex-Im can clear its $10 billion backlog of deals and avoid any further delays that could hurt U.S. businesses and their supply chains.”

President Obama nominated McWatters for the post in January. The four-month delay stands in stark contrast to the Senate’s record for confirming Ex-Im nominees. Over the past 15 years, Ex-Im nominees have waited an average of 42 days to receive a hearing, and 83 days to be confirmed.

Since 2011, the Ex-Im Bank has provided direct financial assistance to more than 270 Ohio businesses – including 187 small businesses – to support $2 billion of exports. In 2015 alone, the bank supported more than $290 million in Ohio exports – more than 75 percent of which were transactions done by small businesses.

Earlier in his career, McWatters? served on the staff of Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), who is now chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. McWatters currently serves on the board of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a position for which he was confirmed by the Senate in June 2014. Senate Majority Leader McConnell recommended McWatters to President Obama for the position on the NCUA board.