Inland Empire members of House back continuation of export bank
Federal lawmakers from the Inland Empire, where many businesses export products overseas, have expressed disappointed that House leaders are allowing the expiration of the congressional charter for the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance and guarantee loans for overseas transactions.
The lawmakers say the failure to reauthorize the charter for the bank, which is set to end Tuesday, will have a negative impact on local business and provide an unfair advantage to marketplace competitors such as China.
Bud Weisbart, vice president of marketing for A&R Tarpaulins Inc. in Fontana, which makes fabrics for awnings, architectural structures and the aerospace industry, said the bank was going to help his company as it ramps up its exports this year.
“We don’t have the ability as a smaller company, as many exporters are, to do the analysis necessary that would allow us to guarantee payments to our business relationships outside the United States, and that’s what Export-Import allows us,” Weisbart said.
The bank, which celebrates 81 years of existence this year, provides loans and credit insurance to help businesses export their goods. The Export-Import Bank had become a target of tea party conservatives who argue the government shouldn’t use taxpayer money to help businesses.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, had expressed opposition toward reauthorization of the bank, arguing the role of the bank is “something the private sector can do.”
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Rancho Cucamonga, disagrees. The former Redlands mayor expressed concern over the inability of the bank to provide loan guarantees while it is unable to operate. Aguilar said the issue could be reconsidered at a future time, but future approval of the charter is uncertain.
“This is a loan guarantee program, so this provides an added layer of certainty for Inland Empire businesses who are exporting, and the loss of that, I’m concerned, doesn’t allow us to be competitive in that space,” Aguilar said.
Rep. Norma Torres, D-Ontario, said the House leadership’s failure to reauthorize the charter needlessly puts jobs at risk.
The bank, she said, has created or sustained 1.7 million private-sector jobs since 2007 with zero taxpayer cost.
“Though the agency remains funded through September 30th, it will now be unable to make new loans or meet financing commitments to promote U.S. exports,” said Torres, a former Pomona mayor. “Companies go to the Ex-Im Bank because they aren’t able to get this assistance in the private market. The global economy is competitive enough. We don’t need to make it even harder for American companies to compete.”