Skip to main content

Why Ex-Im Bank Board Nominations Will Turn the Page on a Dysfunctional Chapter in Washington

In our present era of political discord, could Washington agree to support an agency that creates thousands of American jobs by enabling U.S. companies of all sizes to compete in foreign markets? What if that agency generated nearly billions of dollars more in revenue than the cost of its operations and returned that money – $7 billion over the past two decades – to U.S. taxpayers?


In fact, that agency, the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank), was reauthorized by a large majority of Congress in 2015. To be sure, the matter was not without controversy. A bipartisan House coalition resorted to a rarely-used parliamentary maneuver in order to force a vote. But when Congress voted, Ex-Im Bank won a supermajority in the House and a large majority in the Senate.

For almost two years, however, Ex-Im Bank has been unable to function fully because a single Senate committee chairman prevented the confirmation of nominees to its Board of Directors. Without a quorum on its Board, Ex-Im Bank cannot approve transactions valued at over $10 million. About 40 transactions, worth $30 billion in U.S. products and supporting thousands of American jobs, have been stuck in the pipeline.

Now it appears that President Trump is stepping in to get things moving again, which is good news for exports, especially commercial nuclear exports. The following comes from The Wall Street Journal within the hour:
The president said he planned to fill two vacancies on the bank's board. ‘It's a very good thing. And it actually makes money, it could make a lot of money,’ he said.
Because most nuclear energy transactions exceed $10 million, the absence of a quorum on the Ex-Im Board has effectively shut the Bank down for nuclear energy exports. Nuclear energy tenders commonly exceed the $10 million threshold and almost always require export credit agency backing in order to bid. Not just large suppliers are suffering the absence of Ex-Im Bank. Small nuclear energy suppliers can have contracts in excess of $10 million and also lose smaller contracts as sub-suppliers for larger projects.

The lack of a quorum is causing other unintended harms. It has prevented Ex-Im Bank from implementing four key reforms approved by Congress in the 2015 reauthorization legislation. And the loss of revenue from its large transactions is beginning to undermine the Bank’s self-sufficiency.

Today’s announcement by the President is great news for U.S. exporters of all sizes, especially in the nuclear energy industry, for which Ex-Im Bank support is vital.

Though the nominations have yet to be announced, this is also great news for U.S. national interests beyond the economic. By enabling U.S. nuclear energy exports, Ex-Im Bank strengthens the energy security of U.S. partners that are over-reliant on imports of natural gas from unreliable countries. And it advances U.S. global influence on such critical issues as global nuclear safety, security and nonproliferation.

The above is a guest post from Ted Jones, director of supplier programs at NEI. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

New Home for Our Blog: Join Us on NEI.org

On February 27, NEI launched the new NEI.org. We overhauled the public site, framing all of our content around the National Nuclear Energy Strategy.

So, what's changed?

Our top priority was to put you, the user, first. Now you can quickly get the information you need. You'll enjoy visiting the site with its intuitive navigation, social media integration and compelling and shareable visuals. We've added a feature called Nuclear Now, which showcases the latest industry news and resources like fact sheets and reports. It's one of the first sections you'll see on our home page and it can be accessed anywhere throughout the site by clicking on the atom symbol in the top right corner of the page.
Most importantly for you, our loyal NEI Nuclear Notes readers, is that we've migrated the blog to the new site. Moving forward, all blog posts will be published in the News section, along with our press releases, Nuclear Energy Overview stories and more. Just look for the &qu…

Hurricane Harvey Couldn't Stop the South Texas Project

As Hurricane Harvey battered southeast Texas over the past week, the devastation and loss of life in its wake have kept our attention and been a cause of grief.

Through the tragedy, many stories of heroics and sacrifice have emerged. Among those who have sacrificed are nearly 250 workers who have been hunkered down at the South Texas Project (STP) nuclear plant in Matagorda County, Texas.

STP’s priorities were always the safety of their employees and the communities they serve. We are proud that STP continued to operate at full power throughout the storm. It is a true testament to the reliability and resiliency of not only the operators but of our industry.

The world is starting to notice what a feat it is to have maintained operations through the catastrophic event. Forbes’ Rod Adams did an excellent job describing the contribution of these men and women:

“STP storm crew members deserve to be proud of the work that they are doing. Their families should take comfort in the fact that…