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With dozens of governors and other state and local officials weighing in, the debate over the future of the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) is coming to a head even as the expiration of its charter looms on June 30.
The bipartisan coalition supporting Ex-Im is growing — from coast to coast and from city halls and state houses to Washington.
A bipartisan majority of the nation’s governors sent a letter Tuesday to Congress urging renewal of the Ex-Im Bank. The letter reads in part:
As the economies of our states continue to grow, the Ex-Im Bank is currently playing a vital role in promoting exports and jobs.
The letter was spearheaded by Govs. Robert Bentley (R-Ala.) and Jay Inslee (D-Wash.). As Gov. Bentley stated in a news release:
Failure to provide a long-term reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank will place Alabama based businesses at a significant disadvantage in the global marketplace. I strongly encourage Congress to pass a long-term reauthorization.
The Ex-Im Bank is a vital tool that has assisted hundreds of Washington state companies, large and small — from agriculture and aerospace to electronics and winemaking. The Bank allows these companies to export their products, grow their businesses and supports tens of thousands of jobs. Congress must prioritize swift action to reauthorize the Bank before its charter expires. Inaction will cause harm to Washington’s economy and potentially mean the loss of jobs.
This letter follows a similar call from governors last year, also led by Govs. Bentley and Inslee.
In addition to the 28 governors who co-signed the Bentley-Inslee letter, governors and state leaders continue to weigh in as a group and individually. Last month, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Missouri Gov. Jeremiah W. “Jay” Nixon (D) sent letters in support of reauthorization.
Other state leaders have weighed-in as well. On March 26, the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the State International Development Organizations (SIDO) sent a letter to Congress in support of Ex-Im on behalf of the nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. They wrote:
Ex-Im provides access to capital to small businesses in rural areas that may lack established financial centers. As a “lender of last resort,” Ex-Im is well positioned to fill market gaps left by private sector lenders.
On March 10, the National Association of Counties (NACo) sent a letter to Congress on behalf of the nation’s 3,069 counties. They wrote:
The Ex-Im Bank helps American businesses of all sizes export their goods and services abroad to compete in the global market, stimulate job creation and contribute to the growth of local and state economies. We urge you to support legislation that provides for the long-term reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank before its charter expires on June 30, 2015.
Last July, NACo issued a resolution in support of Ex-Im reauthorization.
On February 25, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) sent a letter to Congress. They wrote:
As mayors of cities that count exports as a crucial contributor to our U.S. economy, we urge you to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) of the United States before its charter expires on June 30, 2015. Without support from the Export-Import Bank, businesses in cities nationwide will face little or no financing alternatives, putting U.S. jobs in jeopardy.”
Last June, at its 82nd Annual Meeting, the USCM passed a resolution “that the nation’s mayors support and call on Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.”
On February 23, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) sent a letter to Congress. They wrote:
The usefulness of successful programs such as Ex-Im’s City/State Partners Program would be threatened if Ex-Im’s authorization or lending authority lapses.
The NCSL, as part of their Export Promotion Policy Directive, has standing policy in support of Ex-Im Bank.
The Ex-Im Bank is one of the most important tools at the disposal of U.S. companies to increase exports and create jobs at home. State leaders from every corner of the country recognize that. We hope Congress is getting the message.