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Time is Running Out

Jun 12, 2015
EC from DC

Congressman Cleaver speaks at Baker Hostetler’s Annual Legislative Conference
in Washington DC on Wednesday, June 10, 2015.

 


Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the economy added 280,000 new jobs in May. This marks the 63rd consecutive month of private sector job creation. In these 63 months, American businesses have added 12.6 million jobs, continuing the longest streak on record.

These developments are ones to build upon, not to divert away from. We must stop risking hundreds of thousands of American jobs and act immediately to stop the expiration of the Export-Import Bank.

Last July, we talked about the Ex-Im Bank. This year, it is in danger again. The Ex-Im Bank helps American businesses of all sizes sell their goods overseas. It has supported 1.5 million private sector jobs since 2007, including over nine thousand in Missouri alone.

The Ex-Im Bank levels the playing field so that American businesses, both large and small, can successfully compete internationally. It counters government-backed financing offered by other countries. Missouri’s Fifth District exports over $132 million dollars in goods and services. Our exports go to Mexico, India, Brazil, and many other countries. These exports create jobs here in our neighborhoods.

Two weeks ago, I had the chance to tour Gasket Engineering in Missouri’s Fifth District. Gasket is a parts supplier for locomotives and the automobile industry as well as a recently booming wind turbine business. We saw the work they were doing firsthand.

Congressman Cleaver and Fred P. Hochberg, Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States,
listen as reps from Gasket Engineering Company explain their custom converters and precision die cutters.

 


While 180 Democrats have signed a discharge petition to bring reauthorization up for a vote, Republicans have blocked action in the House. We only have eight legislative days until the Bank’s charter expires on June 30.

Congress has renewed the Bank’s charter 16 times with little or no controversy, under both Republican and Democratic Administrations. Until recently, the Bank has received strong support from the Republican Party.

Don’t just take my word for it — read the words of these prior Presidents.

“This legislation will ensure the continued effective operation of the Export-Import Bank, which helps advance U.S. trade policy, facilitate the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad, and create jobs here at home.” — President George W. Bush, June 14, 2002

“Exports create and sustain jobs for millions of American workers and contribute to the growth and strength of the United States economy. The Export-Import Bank contributes in a significant way to our nation’s export sales.” — President Ronald Reagan, January 30, 1984

This is plainly a bipartisan issue. And yet, the political tribalism of Washington has infected it. Now, American businesses are losing contracts to foreign opponents because of the uncertainty surrounding the Bank’s June 30 expiration.

If we are to succeed as a nation, we must simply get to work on the matters that make a difference to those who sent us here.