June 02, 2015

Sen. Brown Opening Statement at Banking Committee's Hearing on Export-Import Bank

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – released the following opening statement, as prepared for delivery, at today’s hearing entitled “Perspectives on the Export-Import Bank of the United States.”

Brown’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow.

Senator Sherrod Brown - Opening Statement
Hearing: “Perspectives on the Export-Import Bank of the United States”
June 2, 2015

 Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today’s hearing, and to all of our witnesses for being here and sharing their views on the Export-Import Bank.

In today’s global economy, we need to support businesses when they sell their products around the globe.

Exports are as important to the aerospace industry in the Chairman’s home state of Alabama as they are to manufacturers in Ohio.

That’s why reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank by June 30th is essential.

This should be a no-brainer.

In 2006, under President Bush, the Bank was reauthorized by a voice vote in the House, and by unanimous consent in the Senate.

As those votes show, the Ex-Im Bank used to be a bipartisan issue, until some made its existence an ideological litmus test.

The Bank fills gaps in private export financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.

During the recent debate on Trade Promotion Authority in the Senate, we heard from supporters of the legislation that fast track was needed to boost U.S. exports; that it was needed to increase our role in the globalized economy; and that it was geopolitically important.

I think that is debatable with respect to TPA, but absolutely true when applied to the Export-Import Bank. 

And with the Ex-Im Bank, these benefits come without the costs of off-shoring jobs and exposing U.S. markets to a flood of foreign goods.

Senators who supported fast track because it would promote U.S. exports and grow our economy should support the Ex-Im Bank for the same reasons.

We know that our competitors around the world have their own export-import banks – there are about 60 export credit agencies worldwide.

One analyst says that “Killing the bank is like telling an athlete he has to spot a competitor 10 yards in a race.”

Why would we put our manufacturers and exporters at a disadvantage to China, India, and most European countries?

Last year, the Ex-Im Bank reported that it supported more than $27 billion in exports, and 164,000 American jobs.

That includes more than $250 million in deals in the state of Ohio, 60 percent of which went to small businesses.

In total, Ex-Im Bank has provided more than $3 billion in financing and guarantees to 350 Ohio businesses, including 226 small businesses.

That means more manufacturing, more exports, and more jobs – particularly high-paying manufacturing jobs.

Finally, for the many conservative organizations that have been so concerned about Federal budget deficits, the Ex-Im Bank is self-sustaining. 

Last year alone, it returned more than $670 million to the U.S. Treasury.

For many reasons, we can’t afford to allow the Bank’s authorization to expire at the end of this month.

I commend Senator Kirk and Senator Heitkamp for their bipartisan effort to ensure that the Ex-Im Bank is reauthorized, with some reforms.

I look forward to working with Chairman Shelby, as well as Senator Kirk and Senator Heitkamp, to ensure that the Ex-Im Bank’s authority does not lapse for the first time in its 70-year history.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.