Tea Party Conservatives Again Targeting Ex-Im Bank, U.S. Jobs

Far-right Republicans in Congress are again circling the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, hoping to kill the independent credit agency that helps U.S. companies sell products to foreign buyers and supported more than 200,000 American jobs in 2013 alone.

IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger wrote a letter to Congress backing a bill that would fully authorize the Ex-Im Bank through 2022 and maintain the bank’s historically strong domestic content requirements.

“The Ex-Im Bank is the only federal institution that makes it possible for U.S. manufacturers and workers to compete fairly with our global competitors in Europe and Asia, particularly in the aerospace industry, one of the last sectors in which the U.S. enjoys a positive balance of trade with the rest of the world,” wrote Buffenbarger.

The bank’s charter has to be authorized by Congress, something that has traditionally happened every five years. But the Ex-Im Bank is under the jurisdiction of the House Financial Service Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), an outspoken critic of the credit agency. Hensarling begrudgingly accepted a short-term extension of the bank’s charter last September.

The bank, which doesn’t rely on taxpayer funds and returned over $1 billion to the U.S. Treasury in 2013, will shut its doors on June 30 if Congress doesn’t act.

“America’s global competitors know that exports, and particularly aerospace exports, are vital to a strong economy and have repeatedly demonstrated a resolve to provide all necessary means of support to enhance export growth,” wrote Buffenbarger. “America must not unilaterally disarm as some critics of the Ex-Im Bank would have us do.”

The “Promoting U.S. Jobs Through Exports Act” (H.R. 1031), introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), has 150 co-sponsors.

Click here to read Buffenbarger’s entire letter to Congress.