June 6, 2014
AWB in DC
AWB spends more time meeting lawmakers in this Washington than in the other.
The middle initial in our name represents the Evergreen state, after all, not the nation's capital.
But the debate taking place in Congress right now about whether to renew authorization for the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. is important enough for the economy here in this Washington that AWB President Kris Johnson has decided to lead a group to D.C. next week to meet with members of Washington's congressional delegation
Joining him on the trip are leaders from several AWB member companies, including the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind and Janicki Industries -- both makers of aerospace parts -- and Manhasset Specialty Company, the Yakima music stand manufacturer.
They are among the 183 Washington employers that have benefited from the Ex-Im Bank's export loans or loan guarantees since 2007.
The Ex-Im Bank isn't exactly a household name, but it's critically important to the health of the nation's exporters, which rely on it to provide loans or loan guarantees to overseas customers.
Last year, it reportedly provided financing for $37 billion worth of exports that helped sustain more than 200,000 jobs in the U.S.
The bank was founded in the 1930s during the Depression, and until recently Congress routinely approved its re-authorization without controversy and with bipartisan support.
Recently, though, a small number of critics have begun complaining about the bank, saying that it provides "corporate welfare."
It doesn't. The bank provides loans and loan guarantees at market rates to any company that meets its requirements.
Critics of the bank also like to point out that Boeing is the biggest user of Ex-Im credit programs, but they fail to note that the bank's programs are vital to hundreds of small- and medium-sized companies.
Here in Washington, of the 183 companies that have been helped by the Ex-Im Bank since 2007, 133 are are small businesses.
That's a message that our members of Congress will hear next week -- from AWB and directly from the leaders of some of those small businesses.