WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation & Trade, issued the following statement on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank:
“Houston’s economy depends on trade, specifically through the Port of Houston, an export port. Trade through the Port of Houston supports 1 million jobs throughout the state of Texas. With 95% of customers living outside of the United States, Houston depends on exports. To export goods overseas, particularly to riskier areas or on high cost deals, many of those Texas companies rely on a federal export credit agency, the Export-Import Bank, to guarantee their loans made and serviced by local private banks. Any business can apply for these guarantees and businesses that get these guarantees not only have to repay the entire loan but also pay fees to the federal government for this service. The Bank does not cost the taxpayer any money. In fact, because of these fees the Bank actually returns its profit to the Treasury each year. Last year, that amount was $675 million. To be clear, the Bank has not been without its problems, and major reforms – like those included in H.R 597 – will help restore its integrity and rebuild the public’s trust. Revoking its authorization will harm our city and state, which we’ve already started to see in the few months since the Bank’s lapse in reauthorization. Several companies have already announced that they are relocating jobs overseas, including to China. These jobs will not return, and their impact will be felt down the supply chain to mom & pop businesses in our community. Our foreign competitors are not eliminating their credit agencies just because we unilaterally disarm ours. Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank is a vote for American businesses and jobs. Voting against the Bank is a vote for our foreign competitors, like Vietnam, China and France. I choose to vote for reforms of an entity that will support America’s businesses and exports. ”
v Congress founded the Export-Import Bank to facilitate American trade overseas and to help guarantee financing for U.S. exports. Its charter had been renewed every year since it was created in 1934. That streak of 80 years ended this year when The Bank expired July 1.
v Our competitors will not get rid of their export credit agencies just because we do. Eliminating the bank puts US companies at a competitive disadvantage. Instead, countries like China and Russia will be happy to take our business for themselves. We have already seen this happen since the bank expired three months ago. Here in Texas, GE announced that 100 jobs will be moved next year from a facility in Houston to Hungary and China. Why? So GE can access foreign export credit for its customers of gas turbines.
v The lapse in reauthorization hurts small businesses even more. One Texas small business owner put it best: “Maybe Boeing can weather a shutdown of the Export-Import Bank, but the small businesses that make up nearly 90 percent of its transactions cannot.” This is just the beginning.
v American companies will continue to lose out to foreign competitors backed by aggressive government support. As a result, American companies will suffer and jobs will be destroyed.
v An Inspector General is required to audit the Bank’s portfolio and risk management procedures and submit a public report to Congress every 3 years.
v An independent government agency, the GAO, will review the Bank’s fraud control efforts and release a public report to Congress on its review every 4 years.
v For the first time in its history, an Office of Ethics will be established within the Bank.
v A chief risk officer positon will be created, and a risk management committee will be established to oversee the bank’s stress testing and exposure levels.