The Senate approved reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank this week. This made the first page of the Washington Post, but largely because it showed a level of comity not always seen in the Senate. As a subject, the Ex-Im bank is a little dry for many.
So what does the bank do?
The bank, which takes no money from taxpayers, last year provided export-financing support for about 2 percent of U.S. exports, about $32 billion in loans, loan guarantees and credit financing. Some $11 billion of that supported Boeing sales of large commercial aircrafts.
Countering critics who say it is “Boeing’s bank,” the bank says that 87 percent of its transactions last year directly benefited small businesses and that its financing supported 290,000 jobs, including 85,000 in the aerospace industry.
I’ll let you read about the Boeing-Delta dustup at the link – not really our brief – but the bottom line is that bank can enhance, well, the bottom line by easing the financial aspects of exporting goods and services. One can argue about the bank’s efficacy, but consider: all countries that maintain a global presence have the equivalent of an export-import bank.
So the news that it won reauthorization – and by a lot, 78-20 – in the face of some opposition, won exceptionally broad praise and some sighs of relief.
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons said that “the Senate stood up for jobs” by passing the legislation:
“Manufacturers have been at the forefront of this debate, meeting with lawmakers and sharing how important the Bank is to growing exports, especially for small and medium-sized manufacturers.”
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue on the importance of the bank:
“When other countries are providing their own exporters with an estimated $1 trillion in export finance—often on terms more generous than Ex-Im can provide—failure to reauthorize Ex-Im would amount to unilateral disarmament and cost tens of thousands of American jobs.”
More locally, NEI added its support. “The Senate’s reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank will yield positive policy and economic impacts for many years to come,” said Richard Myers, NEI’s vice president for policy development, planning and supplier programs.
Myers explained the importance of the bank to the industry.
“Absolutely critical for U.S.-based suppliers of commercial reactors and components,” Myers said, “the Ex-Im Bank enhances the position of U.S. suppliers competing for international business by offsetting the advantage provided by other countries’ export credit agencies.”
The global nuclear energy business could provide as much as $740 billion in potential business over the next ten years, Myers said, and that by capturing a share of this growing market, the United States can extend its influence over nonproliferation policy and nuclear plant safety.”
I suspect many ignored this particular story, but it got outsized attention – as it should have – from industry and its representatives – and from many individual industries – such as nuclear – and its representatives.
And all for a good outcome.