Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding Republican amendments that would weaken the Export-Import Bank. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
I am pleased Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement to move forward with reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.
The Bank helps American companies sell their products overseas and hire workers here at home.
It helped private companies add almost 300,000 jobs in more than 2,000 American communities last year.
That’s why labor groups, manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have urged the Senate to move quickly to reauthorize the Bank, which expires at the end of the month.
The second ranking officer at the Chamber of Commerce wrote this to Senators yesterday:
“Failure to enact this legislation would put at risk… American jobs at 3,600 companies that depend on Ex-Im to compete in global markets… Because 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. China, for instance, has three export credit agencies that last year provided $300 billion in export finance to its exporters – 10 times more than Ex-Im provided. This bill would help level the financial playing field in export markets and ensure transparency in Ex-Im’s operations.”
This legislation helps American businesses export their products instead of exporting jobs.
Reauthorizing of the Export-Import Bank is the kind of consensus proposal that shouldn’t result in a partisan fight.
And I am hopeful the Senate will pass it overwhelmingly – signaling to American businesses that Congress will do what it takes to help them compete in a global market.
But while Republicans say publicly that they support this important measure, they have insisted on votes on a number of amendments that would gut or even kill the bill.
The Chamber of Commerce will consider votes on this measure – and on any amendments that would weaken the Bank – to be keys to determining whether Senators are business-friendly.
The extreme amendments offered by my Republican colleagues would certainly weaken the Bank. One would eliminate it altogether.
The Chamber was clear these kinds of amendments are unacceptable to the business community.
The National Association of Manufacturers issued a similar warning Monday.
Democrats agree. We cannot afford to give an inch to our global competitors.
Canada, France and India already provide seven times the assistance to their exporters that America does. China and Brazil provide ten times the support.
So Senate Republicans are faced with a choice.
They can continue to support extreme amendments that would effectively kill the Export-Import Bank, and risk the wrath of the American business community.
Or they can work with Democrats to reauthorize the Bank – without adding amendments that would undermine its ability to help businesses grow.
I’m optimistic my Republican colleagues will make the right choice.