Ex-Im Is an Easy Yes (U.S. News & World Report)

Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank Charter is a Vote to Keep American Jobs

ProGauge Technologies, Inc., a manufacturing company based in Bakersfield, California, is bidding on a project that could lead to 30 new jobs, but only five are staying here in the United States. The rest will be created abroad.

It didn't have to be that way. ProGauge is one of countless manufacturers in the United States, large and small, losing out on foreign sales and international deals because of Congress' failure to stand up for American jobs. "It's pretty sad not to be able to keep the jobs here," said ProGauge president Don Nelson.

Earlier this year, Congress allowed the Export-Import Bank's charter to expire and has not yet acted to reauthorize it. The Ex-Im Bank has served for more than 80 years as the U.S. export credit agency, ensuring access to competitive export financing for manufacturers in the United States that private banks are unable to offer. Countries around the world have similar credit agencies, and without ours, it is harder for U.S.-based companies to sell their products, made by American workers, overseas.

For months, manufacturers large and small in the United States have said that if the agency isn't reauthorized, they will lose deals to foreign competitors and have to consider layoffs. Opponents said companies wouldn't lose deals and people wouldn't lose jobs.

The opponents were wrong, and now manufacturers' warnings are becoming a reality. Companies of all sizes are announcing that they are, in fact, losing deals, and their people are losing jobs, or the jobs that they hoped to create in the U.S. will be created elsewhere.

When a small business loses a deal, its ability to hire and grow is put in jeopardy. And when a large company loses a project to a foreign competitor due to the lapse of the Ex-Im Bank, it means lost jobs at every company in the supply chain. When manufacturing jobs start disappearing, they don't come back. And the loss of those good-paying jobs impacts entire communities. It is past time for lawmakers to start paying attention.

Earlier this month, Orbital ATK became the second satellite manufacturer to lose business because Congress failed to renew the Ex-Im Bank's charter. Senior director Ted McFarland has explained that his Virginia-based company lost a competition for the Azerspace-2 satellite with the government of Azerbaijan because it could not provide export credit financing during the Ex-Im Bank's lapse. A foreign competitor won the deal.

Bizarrely, Ex-Im Bank opponents are unfazed by these troubling developments and job losses. Some have actually said that the loss of hundreds of existing jobs and the further loss of hundreds of potential new jobs is a "drop in the bucket." But it's not a drop in the bucket for a dad supporting his family or a single mother who is putting her kids through school and lost her job.

Ex-Im Bank opponents have also insisted that it's not really a job loss when an American company chooses to expand in a foreign country instead of the United States. That defies simple logic. Those are high-paying manufacturing jobs that could have been created in the United States instead; but the lapse of the Ex-Im Bank has taken that option off the table, and it's our foreign competition that will benefit.

These outcomes are avoidable. This should not be a hard decision. If American jobs are a congressman's priority, then Ex-Im reauthorization is an easy "yes" vote, if House Republican leadership allows it to come to the floor for a vote.

In a typical year, the Ex-Im Bank has directly supported more than 100,000 American jobs tied to exports and many, many more indirectly.

It's time for action before we lose any more jobs.

Jay Timmons is president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, the largest industrial trade association in the United States.

View Article: http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2015/10/13/reauthorize-the-export-import-bank-to-save-americas-jobs