APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz., Mar. 29 -
The Pinal County Greens today passed a resolution urging Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank and attacking anti-business Republican politicians for blocking this needed action.
"Right-wing Republicans seem intent on destroying the Export-Import Bank, an important institution which has financed exports since the Depression," said Richard Grayson, Pinal County Greens co-chair. "Unless it is reauthorized, the bank faces the possibility of shutting its doors completely by the end of May. Inaction by these commerce-hating conservatives could harm and even destroy many small businesses in the United States."
Grayson specifically charged anti-business Congressman Jeff Flake with plotting to destroy the Export-Import Bank: "Jeff Flake is spitting in the face of every small businessperson in Arizona who depends on financing their exports and imports."
As The New York Times reported,
Exports have been one of the bright spots of the fragile recovery, but without Export-Import Bank financing, companies could struggle to complete contracts with overseas buyers. Those buyers will most likely turn to foreign competitors whose governments have more robust versions of the bank, businesspeople say.
“There’s not a bank in the United States that’s going to loan money to that customer of mine in Argentina to buy my airplane,” said David Ickert, vice president of finance at Air Tractor, which makes crop-dusting and firefighting airplanes in Olney, Tex. “There is not a free-market system that operates like that. It does not exist. We need the Ex-Im Bank, period.”
Like so much else in Congress these days, it is not that simple.
With its charter set to expire in May, the bank is the target of conservative groups. They are making the case to Republicans that the bank, created in 1934 to finance sales to the Soviet Union, has no place in a free-market system. Club for Growth is holding it up as the next Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, crowding out private lending and offering dangerous loans that ultimately could be left in the laps of the taxpayer.
“Those groups are just wrong, period,” said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers and a generous personal contributor to Republican candidates.
The bank is financed with a small percentage of each loan it makes to foreign buyers of American exports, producing $3.4 billion in profits for the federal government over the last five years.
Drew Greenblatt, president and owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products, in Baltimore, said he recently got a rush order for wire baskets from a firm in Singapore, assuming he could finance the sale. He went to the Export-Import Bank and paid a one-half-percent fee on the loan. The bank guaranteed 95 percent of the loan. He kept the plant working through the weekend and completed the sale.
“Think about all the winners in this transaction,” he said. “Ex-Im got half a point. Baltimore City steelworkers got extra hours. I got extra profits to meet payroll, and hopefully I got a client who will reorder from me.”
"The Pinal County Greens will ask our representatives in Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank without delay," said Grayson. "Anti-capitalist Republicans like Jeff Flake shouldn't keep holding American businesses hostage."