Rep. Blumenauer Underscores Support for Ex-Im Bank
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Washington, DC – Today, on the House floor, Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) underscored his support for the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) of the United States.
To follow are his remarks as prepared for delivery. Click here to watch his speech.
“For the first time in over a dozen years, an unusual legislative procedure – a discharge petition – has been successfully mounted in the House. This is an extraordinary effort to allow the House to work its will – a mechanism that was part of a package of reform dating back over a century to deal with the ‘Iron Rule’ of Speaker Joe Cannon.
“The subject of the petition, the Ex-Im Bank, is almost as obscure as the procedure that brought it to the House. This is an agency that for over 70 years provided financing for transactions, similar to which all of our competitor nations provide their exporting companies. In this case, American companies will have the credit tools that will enable them to cost effectively engage in international transactions that other private institutions won’t finance because of political or commercial risks.
“Even if providing this service meant a modest exposure to the taxpayer, which might occasionally cost money, it is worth it in exchange for the support it provides to the businesses that supply hundreds of thousands of good paying American jobs and enable U.S. companies to compete abroad. Yes, it’s worth it. It’s not just a low-risk proposition. The Ex-Im Bank is a service that has made billions of dollars for the United States Treasury. It turns a profit, almost $3 billion in the last six years, and nearly all of its transactions benefit small businesses across America.
“This is interesting. This is a service that all our competitor nations provide their companies, it hasn’t cost the taxpayers any money – in fact, it makes money for the Treasury. Why was it allowed to expire?
“This is another example of where a minority of the House,for ideological reasons,decided they were going to take over the process. In this case, they were going to kill the Ex-Im Bank. They did so over the objections of the Administration, of the business community, many Members of Congress, and people in organized labor.
“It was hard to maintain decorum during last night’s debate when the Chair of the House Financial Services Committee complained that somehow by approving the discharge petition and the procedural motions that followed, we were stifling the will of the House. I could only smile as he – and other opponents – lamented that he would not be able to offer amendments and was being shut out.
“How ironic because it was his Committee that had no intention of allowing the House to participate in the give and take of legislation he was blocking, despite the support from more than half of his colleagues in the House. The Committee did not amend and refine the Ex-Im Bank. The Committee killed it by having the authorization expire without giving the whole House a chance to be a part of that decision.
“Now the people who were caught on the wrong side of the majority in the House with a losing argument and a minority position were suddenly concerned that the House was being shut out? That argument is so outrageous that it would be laughable, if the consequences of the Bank’s lapse weren’t so dire. By obstructing regular order and allowing the Bank’s authorization to expire, these Members risk hurting American-made manufacturing – from small businesses like Bob’s Red Mill in Oregon to companies like General Electric.
“They had been shutting out the House for the last two years. They had denied efforts at reform. Only when their hand was forced they somehow resort to the most specious of arguments. Now because of the courageous action by a bipartisan group, led by our Republican colleagues eloquently and bravely, the House will no longer be shutout. American business will be stronger, and the House has demonstrated that there sometimes will be opportunities for a bipartisan majority to have its interests represented.
“We can only hope that this sets a precedent for how we solve other problems – from raising the debt ceiling to dealing with budgets to rebuilding and renewing America. Involve the entire House and solutions are possible and America will be better served.”