Stating he could not understand how a program as valuable and successful as the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank could “suddenly become a political football in Washington,” U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) called for renewing the bank’s charter as members of the Hampton Roads Port Council stood with him outside the Port of Norfolk.
Warner serves as chairman of the Senate National Security and International Trade and Finance Subcommittee. Through that position, he deals with the concerns of getting American goods to overseas markets.
Warner stated how important the Ex-Im Bank is to the commerce of Virginia, helping to provide for thousands upon thousands of good jobs across the state as well as the nation, during a press conference on July 28. He said he was proud to have the workers from the Port of Norfolk join him because the Ex-Im Bank is vital to their jobs. With the senator were members of the Seafarers and Longshoremen’s unions affiliated with the port council.
The senator added he could not understand how others were attacking the bank when it has supported 1.2 million jobs over the last five years, when nearly 90 percent of its transactions were with small businesses, when the bank returned money from its fees to help reduce the nation’s deficits, and when it does not cost U.S. taxpayers “a dime.”
The Export-Import Bank was created in 1934 to promote the sale of American-made goods overseas. When it was chartered, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for the bank to “aid in financing and to facilitate exports and imports and the exchange” of goods between the U.S. and the world during a period of economic distress. As noted on its website, the bank continues to operate under those goals supporting U.S. manufacturers and exporters in times of economic crisis when limitations on commercial credit arise. It makes and guarantees loans in addition to offering credit insurance to fund American exports.
The Ex-Im Bank needs to be rechartered by Congress by the end of September. Warner told the media he thinks “wiser heads will prevail,” but added opposition comes from elements in both political parties.
The MTD through its Port Maritime Councils has been reaching out via mail and personal contacts across the country in support of renewing the bank’s charter. The councils have pointed out that this is an issue that has the support of both labor and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.