We can’t support Rep. Scott Garrett, who denies the need for the bank and its crucial role in fostering a strong manufacturing sector to lift up families, many of which populate our nation’s rural regions.
IN one of the most trade-driven states in the nation, the Association of Washington Business was also one of the most outspoken employer groups in the nearly two-year federal effort to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank’s charter.
A little known federal agency, the Ex-Im Bank provides insurance and loan products and services to businesses across the country looking to expand their reach to overseas markets. And, while much of the focus has been on large companies and their use of the bank’s services, such as Boeing, the overwhelming majority of employers using the bank in Washington state and across America are small businesses.
From music-stand manufacturer Manhasset Specialty Company in Yakima and SCAFCO, a Spokane manufacturer of grain-storage systems and steel framing products, to Seattle’s Lighthouse for the Blind, a company that connects aerospace manufacturing job opportunities with vision-impaired Washingtonians, the bank provides a lifeline to ensure the health and growth of our state’s critical manufacturing sector.
The numbers bear that out: Since 2012, Washington state’s economy has benefited greatly. In total, 174 companies utilized the bank’s services, representing $78 billion in export value to the state.
However, not every member of Congress appreciated the crucial role of the bank, including former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-New Jersey), who was nominated by President Donald Trump to be considered as the next Ex-Im Bank president and chairman.
Like the National Association of Manufacturers, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, the Association of Washington Business is deeply concerned with the president’s nomination of Garrett to head the bank. He was one of a handful of members of Congress who outwardly expressed his desire to dismantle the Ex-Im Bank, a move that would leave hundreds of thousands of America’s small manufacturers to compete with foreign companies that have access to Ex-Im-type government loans and services within their countries.
AWB and its members spent countless hours throughout 2014 and 2015 working on the bank’s charter reauthorization, including making three trips to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Washington’s congressional delegation.
When Congress renewed the Ex-Im Bank’s charter in December 2015, we celebrated an important victory for Washington’s economy.
Now, to see Garrett approved as the next Ex-Im Bank president and chairman would be a giant step backward.
It should go without saying that any potential candidate to serve as the Ex-Im Bank president and chairman must support its mission and understand its purpose to help American companies compete globally and create good-paying U.S. jobs through the export of American-made goods.
Like any agency, the Ex-Im Bank could use a reform-minded leader with a focus on efficiency and ensuring a good return on investment. We would support those efforts.
However, we cannot support the consideration of someone like Garrett who denies the need for the bank and its crucial role in fostering a strong manufacturing sector to lift up families, many of which populate our nation’s rural regions.
AWB and its nearly 7,000 members will keep a close eye as more names surface to fill the top role at the Ex-Im Bank. And we’ll be ready to take action as needed.
In the meantime, as the nomination process moves forward, we have confidence that just as Washington’s congressional delegation played a crucial role in ensuring the bank’s reauthorization, they will also ensure that the next head of the Ex-Im Bank understands and appreciates the role it plays in growing jobs and the economy here and across the country.