Dec 03, 2015 - 3:30pm

Congress Re-Leveling the Playing Field for American Exporters

Executive Director, Communications & Strategy


Bruce Josten
The U.S. Chamber's Bruce Josten speaks in front of the Capitol on Thursday.

After five long months, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to revive the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), and the Senate is expected to follow suit on Friday. This would restore a vital resource that U.S. businesses have depended on for decades to help them sell their goods and services to customers around the world.

For 80 years, Ex-Im provided vital financing and insurance services to American firms that sell to customers abroad, but that all came to a halt when Congress allowed the bank’s charter to expire at the end of June.

In the months since, thousands of U.S. companies - many of them small businesses - have been without the resources they need to compete in the global market, as every other major trading nation offers an export credit agency akin to Ex-Im. In some cases, American companies haven’t even been allowed to bid on work overseas because the project requires the backing from a national export credit agency. As a result, some firms have seen projects stall, revenues dry up, and jobs start to disappear.

That's why several lawmakers and industry representatives took a moment on Thursday to celebrate this important victory for America’s business community.

 “Ex-Im’s support is especially important to small and medium-sized businesses, which account for nearly 90 percent of the bank’s transactions,” Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said during a press conference on Capitol Hill. Josten noted that thousands more small businesses supply goods to large American exporters and thus also benefit from Ex-Im’s support.

For every one of those businesses, Josten explained, “failure to secure a long-term reauthorization of Ex-Im would have meant unilateral disarmament in the face of other governments’ far more aggressive export credit programs.”

Josten was joined at the press conference by Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.), and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), all of whom were instrumental in helping move the bill through the House.

The Ex-Im reauthorization measure was approved in tandem with much-needed transportation funding legislation, and the White House has said that President Barack Obama will sign the package into law without delay. Importantly, the legislation will renew Ex-Im’s charter for four years, through September 2019.

“The bank has won overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress in recent months,” Josten said on Thursday. “We’re pleased to see a pathway to reopening this important tool for American exporters.”

About the Author

About the Author

J.D. Harrison
Executive Director, Communications & Strategy

J.D. Harrison is the Executive Director for Strategic Communications at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.