June 04, 2015

Sen. Brown Opening Statement at Banking Committee's Hearing on Oversight of 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 “Oversight of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.”

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

Senator Sherrod Brown - Opening Statement
Hearing: “Oversight of the Export-Import Bank of the United States
June 4, 2015

 Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today’s hearing, and to Chairman Hochberg for being here today.

Chairman Hochberg, I especially want to thank you for the outreach that you have done to small businesses in Ohio through the Global Access for Small Business forums that you held in Cincinnati and Mentor and Youngstown and your roundtables in Toledo and Columbus. 

I know you’ve done the same thing throughout the country. 

Congress does our country no favors when it lurches from one self-inflicted crisis to another.

At the end of the year, we saw an ideological fight over, and eventual expiration of, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program.

Last Sunday, portions of the National Security Agency’s authority expired.

When we dealt with the Highway Trust Fund have been dealt with, it has been in the form of short-term patches.

Now we are 27 days away from the Export-Import Bank’s authority expiring.

One member of the Republican leadership has committed to a floor vote in June, while another said it should happen on the highway bill extension at the end of July.

Simply put, this is not a way to do the business of either this committee, the Senate, or the Congress.

The Ex-Im Bank should be bipartisan, and has been since Congress first authorized it at the end of World War II

According to the Wall Street Journal, prior to 2012, the Senate had only once required a roll call vote to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.*

For example, the Bank was reauthorized by Unanimous Consent in the Senate in 2006, under President Bush and Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

That 2006 5-year reauthorization was followed by a 5-month reauthorization in 2011, a 2-year reauthorization in 2012, and a 9-month reauthorization at the end of last year.

This recent history of limping from one short-term authorization to another is bad for small business owners who want certainty to plan their investment and hiring, but can’t make long-term decisions because of congressional inaction.

It is also bad for the Export-Import Bank to attract business that will expand U.S. exports, and retain the necessary number of talented employees to oversee an expanding portfolio.

And it is bad for our economy because it makes the Bank riskier – not safer – and it hurts our competitiveness.

Of course the Ex-Im Bank is not perfect – no person or institution is – but its work is important.

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

It is not easy for small business to export, but making sure that they are aware of, and have access to tools, like the Export-Import Bank, is how they grow.

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

We should not put our manufacturers and exporters at a disadvantage to China, India, and most European countries.

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

That’s why the work of the Export-Import Bank is so important and why reauthorizing it by June 30th is essential.

I look forward to working with my colleagues, and especially appreciated the comments on Tuesday from Senator Kirk, Senator Heitkamp, Senator Donnelly, and others who are committed to ensuring that the Ex-Im Bank’s authority does not lapse for the first time in its 70-year legislative history.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

*Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2014: “Ex-Im Bank Was Easy Vote in Past Years”

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization








Voice vote

102-6 To Pass





Voice vote

Voice vote





Voice vote






Voice vote

Voice vote





Voice vote

Voice vote





Voice vote

Voice vote





Voice vote

219-140 To Pass





71-24 To Pass

280-96 To Pass





Voice vote

341-32 To Pass





Voice vote

Voice vote





Voice vote

Voice vote





Voice vote

312-105 To Pass





Unanimous Consent

Voice vote





Unanimous Consent

344-78 To Pass





Unanimous Consent

Unanimous Consent





78-20 To Pass

330-93 To Pass