Why saving the big bank that Republicans want to kill is a no-brainer

AP Photo/Jay LaPreteRep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio).

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) is a member of Congress.
If there were a government agency that helped small businesses grow, create jobs, and expand U.S. exports abroad, would you support it? And, if this agency didn’t cost the federal government a dime, and instead actually made a profit that goes back to our government, would you support it even more? I think the answer to both questions easily is a resounding “yes!”

Sadly, the agency I just described — the Export-Import Bank of the United States — is shuttered as of June 30, 2015, when Congress let its charter expire due to gridlock and inaction of Congressional Republicans. If you go to the Bank’s website to put in an application for financing, like many businesses have in recent days, you will be greeted by a message saying that due to a lapse in Ex-Im Bank’s authority the Bank is unable to process applications or engage in new business.

This expiration of authority should come as no shock as some Congressional Republicans have been in full swing to diminish the Bank’s ability to fulfil its mission of supporting American jobs through American exports. While the Bank has some money to continue operating for a short period of time, it currently is unable to provide new loans, leaving U.S. exporters lagging behind international competition, ultimately resulting in the creation of fewer American jobs.

The 80-year-old Bank makes U.S. exports more competitive by extending lines of trade insurance credit to American companies that otherwise would be unavailable from traditional banks. That is why it is critical that our small businesses have access to this credit to be competitive with goods produced overseas. For small businesses, competing in the global marketplace is very difficult without the assistance of the Bank, because obtaining this line of credit in the marketplace would be nearly impossible.

Many of the Ex-Im Banks’s detractors claim that the Bank is corporate welfare and picks winner and losers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nearly 90% of the Bank’s transactions in 2014 directly supported small business.

AP/Matt RourkeWorkers help to assemble a helicopter at the AgustaWestland’s aircraft manufacturing facility, which Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) said has successfully shipped exports through Export-Import Bank financing.

While operating without taxpayer dollars, in 2014, the Ex-Im Bank supported 164,000 export related U.S. jobs and generated a $US675 million surplus for our coffers. Additionally, almost 90% of Ex-Im Bank’s initiatives directly support small businesses, including 343 minority-owned businesses.

In my Congressional District, the Third Congressional District of Ohio, 12 businesses used the Bank between 2009 and 2015, supporting $US58 million of exports. One of these is a minority-owned business, American Isostatic Presses, Inc., that used the Bank to support nearly $US16 million in export value since 2009. These exports helped create jobs and contributed to the growth of our local economy in Central Ohio.

Since 2009, the Bank has approved more financing to support minority businesses than it did over the previous 16 years combined. Supporting the growth of small, women, and minority businesses at absolutely no cost to taxpayers should be an easy vote for Members of Congress.

The failure to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank’s charter and the looming closure is a good example of why congressional elections matter. We need a Congress that supports common sense ideas, but the only way we can do that is through your vote. Show up and vote for common sense candidates who support common sense ideas and hardworking Americans.

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