Jul 15, 2015 - 3:00pm

Congressmen Twist Facts and Necks at Ex-Im Press Conference

Executive Director, Communications & Strategy


Sen. Ted Cruz
The camera angle wasn't the only thing skewed at this press conference on Wednesday.

If you tuned into the online stream of Sen. Ted Cruz’s Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) press conference on Wednesday morning, you may have come away with quite a kink in the neck. In what quickly became the subject of jeers from viewers online, Cruz’s team didn’t manage to set up the camera correctly, resulting in an awkwardly sideways stream of the presser.

Unfortunately, the “facts” Cruz and company issued about the Ex-Im Bank were just as twisted and contorted as the camera angle.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the many details Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) turned on their heads as part of their ongoing attempts to close an agency that helps thousands of American businesses sell their goods around the world and create jobs back home.

Twisted: “The idea that giving away tax payer money somehow reduces the deficit is a fiction that only politicians in Washington could try to sell.” - Sen. Cruz

Truth: Cruz managed to pack two whoppers into this short sentence. For starters, taxpayer money isn’t being “given away” — Ex-Im charges substantial fees for its services. These services include lines of credit and trade insurance products, and only to those businesses that meet strict application standards, evidenced by Ex-Im’s relatively low default rate.

Speaking of fees, when the fees an agency collects for its services consistently exceed the cost of that agency’s operations, the excess is returned to the Treasury and helps lower the national deficit. That’s precisely what has happened with the Ex-Im Bank year after year, to the tune of $7 billion returned to the government since 1990, therefore bolstering public funding, not depleting it.

Twisted: “Taxpayers are putting their tax dollars on the line to benefit foreign countries and giant corporations.” - Sen Cruz

More than 3,000 small firms last year used Ex-Im’s services to help them sell more than $10 billion of goods overseas.

Truth: This contention is really an attempt to divert attention from the true beneficiaries of Ex-Im — the tens of thousands of American companies and workers who depend on the Bank. Ex-Im provides trade insurance and loans to support American businesses, and 90 percent of the firms the bank supports are small businesses. In fact, more than 3,000 small firms last year used Ex-Im’s services to help them sell more than $10 billion of goods overseas.

Twisted: Ex-Im Bank is “something we don’t need, something that, at best, is a relic of a bygone era.” - Sen. Lee

Truth: Not needed? Try telling that to the U.S. companies that compete for contracts overseas to help build everything from power generators to roads to aircrafts. In many cases, foreign governments won’t even allow companies to bid for those contracts without support from their country’s export credit agency (that’s not a problem for most, as every other major trading nation has just such a bank). Thus, without Ex-Im, U.S. businesses will lose out on that work to foreign competitors.

It has now been two weeks since Ex-Im’s charter expired, leaving American businesses without the export support many have depended on for decades. Click here to learn more about the agency and why Congress must reauthorize Ex-Im.

Tell Congress to renew the Export-Import Bank

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.