May 13, 2019
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Ex-Im Bank Board now has quorum after U.S. Senate vote

The U.S. Senate voted last Wednesday to confirm three nominees to the board of the Export-Import Bank, giving the bank the quorum it needs to approve sales larger than $10 million.

The Senate voted to confirm Kimberly Reed as president of the Ex-Im Bank. It also approved the nomination of former U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., and Judith DelZoppo Pryor to be members of the bank’s board of directors.

The bank has nearly $40 billion worth of export deals in the pipeline that can now move forward in support of hundreds of thousands of American jobs, said Jeffrey D. Gerrish, Ex-Im chairman and acting president.

"The Senate’s bipartisan votes today renew opportunities for U.S. exporters to compete on a level playing field in markets and industries where China and other nations are aggressively supporting their exporters," Gerrish said. "With Ex-Im restored to full functionality, our exporters again have a fighting chance to win export sales on the fair basis of quality and price instead of on the availability of government-backed financing."

The Ex-Im Bank, created in 1934, offers loan guarantees and other export assistance for American manufacturers and exporters.

For four years, the bank has not had a fully functioning board, lacking enough board members for a quorum. The vote last week to appoint three new members ended the four-year freeze on sales greater than $10 million and puts the bank back on track to be fully functional.

"This is a big and important deal for the nation and particularly for our state which is so driven by trade," AWB President Kris Johnson said.

Other business advocates also hailed the move, saying that delays in giving the bank board a quorum had been costly for American job-creators.

“We’ve been losing billions of dollars in deals and thousands of manufacturing jobs to countries like China as a direct result of Ex-Im being dysfunctional the past four years,” said Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “We think just in 2016 and 2017 that there were 80,000 jobs, about $119 billion in output, that were lost because the agency couldn’t approve any deals over $10 million.”

Another challenge is coming up quickly, however — Congress must act by Sept. 30 to reauthorize the bank for another five years. The Seattle Times editorial board is calling on lawmakers to "finish their work" by extending the bank's charter.

"The bank’s services are especially important for Washington, where international trade is a cornerstone of the economy. In the past five years, the bank’s guarantees have helped 128 Washington exporters. The beneficiaries include 99 small businesses, eight minority-owned businesses and 10 women-owned businesses," the editorial board wrote on Sunday.

The Hill has more on the bank's renewal.

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