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In this global economy, the United States needs to utilize every possible advantage in order to remain competitive among the rest of the global market, without sacrificing the rights of the American worker. One such tool is the Export-Import Bank

Similar structures in other nations have different names but are used by those governments to compete for projects and financing opportunities. And it is one that U.S. companies and workers have been deprived of for nearly three years.

Due to congressional inaction, the Ex-Im Bank’s charter expired in June 2015, after 81 years of continual service. Since then, the loan services offered by the bank to U.S. exporters and other business customers looking to build and buy American have been drastically limited. Even though the charter was reauthorized in December 2015, it remains largely closed for business as there has not been the required number of executive board members at the bank to allow the financing of projects larger than $10 million.

Despite the fact that the Ex-Im Bank doesn’t cost American taxpayers a single cent, and actually helps reduce the national debt by transferring millions of dollars in receipts to the U.S. Treasury, opponents claim the bank amounts to little more than “corporate welfare.” Those opponents to the Ex-Im Bank continue to block every attempt to hold a confirmation vote on the Senate floor, which – if reports are accurate – would pass, thus allowing the bank’s new executive board members to get to work.

Since the bank was first allowed to become unfunded, more than $10 billion dollars in new loans have been lost to competing foreign markets, according to Acting First Vice President of the Ex-Im Bank Scott Schloegel. That’s $10 billion worth of exportable goods, American jobs and economic leverage that have gotten tired of waiting and taken their business to other countries. Despite those lost contracts, the line is long, according to Schloegel, who said, “We have roughly $35 billion in transactions in the pipeline right now, and that represents roughly a quarter of a million jobs.”

Even without mentioning that one industry served by Ex-Im Bank loans is the U.S-flag fleet, Schloegel’s statement raises warning signals for the MTD and its affiliates. By law, cargo generated by the bank must be transported aboard U.S.-flag vessels. As MTD President Michael Sacco often has said, it is all about jobs, jobs, jobs. From our point of view, that’s the bottom line with the Ex-Im Bank, and it is high time the bank is able to get back to work.

So, yet again, the MTD, its affiliates and its Port Maritime Councils call for the Senate to vote to fill the necessary seats for the Ex-Im Bank’s Executive Board. We urge those blocking a vote to reconsider the importance of such a globally competitive, free market tool, and to stop holding hundreds of thousands of American jobs hostage.

Approved 2018 MTD Executive Board Meeting