Alabama Delegation, U.S. House send Ex-Im Bank Renewal to Senate

Alabama’s U.S. House members who voted to renew the charter of the important Export-Import Bank of the United States are to be commended for their forward-looking initiative to keep Alabama’s export economy even that of other nations.

The House voted overwhelmingly 313-118 on Tuesday to send the legislation to the Senate that previously has indicated support for its passage.

Alabama House members who voted in favor of this important legislation are Reps. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, Mike Rogers, R-Saks, and Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham.

“Our members of Congress are due a profound thank you for their votes to support this vital tool that is needed by Alabama and the nation in order to keep exports moving and maintain our competitiveness with other nations with similar financing agencies that act when traditional financing is not available,” Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary said Wednesday.

The charter of the agency, which promotes exports by U.S. companies, expired this summer. Its loan guarantees support more than 160,000 U.S. jobs and thousands in Alabama.

H.R. 597, the Reform Exports and Expand the American Economy Act, would reauthorize the loan authority of the Bank for five years and now heads to the Senate. President Obama has said he supports renewing the bank’s charter that expired June 30.

BCA members who responded to previous requests to urge members of Congress to approve the bank’s charter are also due a hearty thank you. The BCA was among hundreds of organizations representing a cross-section of the American economy that urged continuation of the bank’s operations. 

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said the overwhelming House vote showed that Americans want the bank to continue.

“The bank helps to sustain and grow manufacturing jobs in America and keep our sector globally competitive,” Timmons said. “Our members demand leadership from Congress to ensure this reauthorization gets through the entire legislative process and to President Obama’s desk for his signature without further delays.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that delay of the bank’s renewal has gone on far too long.

“Today’s vote in the House to reauthorize Ex-Im proves once more that a clear majority of the Congress is in favor of maintaining and reforming this important program,” U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President for Government Affairs Bruce Josten said Tuesday. “Having now passed the House and Senate separately, it is time for Congress to take the necessary steps to send this legislation to the president’s desk, because the alternative is risking hundreds of thousands of American jobs and the livelihood of our small- and medium-size businesses.”

The Exporters For Ex-Im Coalition also commended the Alabama House delegation for voting to reauthorize the bank.

“We applaud the Alabama lawmakers who fought for U.S. workers and voted to reform and reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. This vote was long overdue. Nearly all Democrats and the majority of Republicans in the House voted to ensure job creators have the tools they need to compete. The debate over Ex-Im has always been about jobs and whether U.S. manufacturers can continue to compete overseas and hire right here at home.  With an overwhelming majority of members in both the House and Senate now on record in support of reauthorization, we urge Congress to send the Ex-Im reauthorization bill to the President’s desk as soon as possible. There is no reason U.S. workers should have to compete with one arm tied behind their backs any longer.”

The BCA is the exclusive representative of the NAM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Alabama and is a member of the Ex-Im Coalition.

-Dana Beyerle