5/14/2012 — 

WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to help American companies compete in a global economy and sell more of their products overseas, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and a bipartisan coalition of senators have reached an agreement to advance legislation renewing the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.  The Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States.  It helps thousands of U.S. companies export American goods and services through a variety of loan, guarantee, and credit insurance programs.  The bank’s current charter expires at the end of this month unless Congress acts.

“The Ex-Im Bank helps Rhode Island companies sell their goods abroad and hire local workers and keep investment here at home.  Renewing the Ex-Im Bank is critical to helping American manufacturers compete in the global marketplace.  It fills gaps in private export financing and assumes credit risks when private banks don’t step up,” said Reed, who offered an amendment earlier this year to renew the Export-Import Bank.

Ex-Im Bank transactions helped facilitate over $40 billion in export sales last year, allowing 3,600 U.S. businesses to generate some 290,000 American jobs at no cost to taxpayers.  The Ex-Im Bank, which operates through fees and interest charged to its customers, also paid $1.9 billion into the U.S. Treasury over the last five years.

The Ex-Im Bank has directly supported over $48 million in export sales from Rhode Island over the last five years. 

“The Ex-Im Bank helps small businesses, keeps America competitive, and supports job creation.  I want the Ex-Im Bank to do more to help Rhode Island companies succeed, but if opponents block this bill the Ex-Im will not be able to continue providing critical financial assistance to Rhode Island companies that export their products.  Shutting the Ex-Im Bank down would hurt the U.S. economy and cost Rhode Island manufacturers opportunities for growth and job creation,” stated Reed.

Despite receiving bipartisan support in the past, renewal of the Ex-Im Bank has been delayed this year due to opposition from the Tea Party and staunch conservative groups like the Club for Growth.  However, last week the U.S. House of Representatives voted 330 to 93 to advance the Securing American Jobs Through Exports Act (H.R. 2072) to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank through September 30, 2014 and increase its loan exposure cap from $100 billion to $140 billion, while maintaining a default rate of less than 2%, which the Ex-Im Bank has historically achieved.

Tomorrow the Senate is scheduled to vote on amendments to the bill and then final passage, requiring 60 votes.  Reed says he thinks the bipartisan agreement will pass.