Brown, Ohio Exporter Call on Congress to Restore Export-Import Bank to Full Strength in Support of Ohio Businesses, Workers

Without Support of Fully-Functioning Bank, Ohio Businesses at Competitive Disadvantage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined an Ohio exporter to call on Congress to restore the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to full strength, as Brown – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – heard from President Trump’s nominees to serve on the Ex-Im board of directors today. The Export-Import Bank provides financing to help Ohio businesses and manufacturers export goods and services around the world.

“The Ex-Im Bank is a vital tool for Ohio manufacturers and other businesses, helping them export Ohio products around the world and compete in the global marketplace,” said Brown. “Republicans and Democrats, workers and businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, and labor groups all agree – we need a strong, functioning Ex-Im Bank to make sure Ohio businesses don’t lose jobs and contracts to foreign competitors.”

Brown was joined on the call by Richard Rogovin to outline why a fully operational Bank is vital to Ohio exporters like his in order to compete with foreign competitors and create economic growth.

“We are now bidding jobs in South America and western Africa and providing technology for new bridges in India.  If we are successful, we can grow our company, provide jobs for American workers, and bring dollars and tax revenues back to the United States instead of sending them abroad for the benefit of our foreign competitors,” said Rogovin.  

What is the Ex-Im Bank?

The Export-Import Bank provides financing to help American businesses and manufacturers export goods and services around the world. It is the official Export Credit Agency of the United States. Virtually every major exporting country has its own export credit facility, including China and most of Europe. So without the support of a fully-functioning Ex-Im Bank, American businesses are at a competitive disadvantage.  

Why is the Ex-Im Bank not currently operating at full strength?

Ex-Im’s board of directors are nominated by the President and then must be approved by the Senate. Ex-Im is supposed to operate with five members on its board of directors, and it must have at least three in order operate at full capacity.  But since 2015, Ex-Im has had only two members on its board. And, some Senate Republicans have blocked Ex-Im board nominees from moving through the Senate. This has prevented the bank from operating at full capacity and crippled the its ability to boost Ohio manufacturing.

What constitutes full capacity? Without a quorum of at least three members on its board of directors, Ex-Im can only approve loans to American exporters that are less than $10 million – severely limiting the number and type of investments the Bank can make in Ohio companies.

Why does the Ex-Im Bank matter for Ohio jobs?

Between 2007 and 2015, Ex-Im supported $3 billion in financing and guarantees to 350 Ohio businesses, including 226 small businesses.

But since 2015, when Ex-Im began operating at limited capacity, Ohio investments have dropped dramatically. Ohio companies previously exported more than $400 million per year of products using Ex-IM credit assistance, but that amount was roughly cut in half last year.  

What is Senator Brown doing to get the bank back to full strength?

Brown is the top democrat on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, which has jurisdiction over the Ex-Im Bank. Brown has been fighting to keep the Bank open and operating at full capacity since Congress first threatened to shut it down in 2015. For more than a year, Brown has been calling for the Senate to move Ex-Im board nominees and restore the Bank to full capacity.

In February, Brown urged President Trump to promptly submit new nominations to the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s board of directors in order to restore the bank’s full lending powers.

On Wednesday, Brown’s Committee will consider those nominees. Brown will join the Ohio Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in opposing former Rep. Scott Garrett to become President of the Bank. Garrett opposes the Ex-Im Bank’s existence and voted against authorizing it to exist in 2015.

Who else opposes Scott Garrett to head Ex-Im?