Port Maritime Councils and their affiliates from all over the country are contacting members of Congress to call for a vote to renew the U.S. Export-Import Bank charter when the legislators return from the Independence Day recess in mid-July.
The bank’s charter expired at midnight on July 1 when Congress failed to take any action before the recess. Despite the lack of a charter, the Ex-Im Bank can remain in existence for about three months but is not able to contact its primary business, which is backing low-interest loans for the export of U.S.-made goods. The bank has been in existence since 1934. (About 60 other nations have a similar institution to promote their goods for export around the world.)
The MTD is a strong supporter of the Ex-Im Bank. Cargo generated by the bank must be transported aboard U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed vessels.
In a statement passed at its February executive board meeting in support of the bank, the MTD quoted Port of Houston Authority Chairman Janiece Longoria’s December 2014 letter to Congressional leadership which said, “Federal policies that increase and sustain trade are beneficial for jobs and the economy. The U.S. Export-Import Bank provides opportunities for domestic manufacturers and employers to compete internationally and ship American goods into the global economy.”
Opponents of the bank’s charter renewal have claimed it is corporate welfare and a drain of taxpayer dollars.
Last year, the Ex-Im Bank supported 164,000 American private-sector jobs. Nearly 90 percent of its transactions went to small businesses. It supported $27.5 billion in U.S. exports at no cost to American taxpayers. And, it has helped reduce the country’s deficit by generating $7 billion for the U.S. Treasury in recent years
During the recess, the 18 Port Maritime Councils around the U.S. are calling, writing and visiting local House and Senate offices seeking elected officials to seek for a vote for the charter’s renewal and to actually support the renewal when they return to Washington.