Source: United States Senator for North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp
Senator Calls for U.S. Senate to Approve Nomination to Help Get the Bank Fully Back to Business to Support North Dakota Exports
Over $43 Billion for U.S. Businesses is at Risk Without Fully Functioning Bank
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp met with Kimberly Reed, the nominee to serve as Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank. Heitkamp, a member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, is looking forward to Reed’s hearing in the Committee on July 19 and is pushing for Reed’s nomination to quickly be considered by the full Senate to help get the Bank fully operating.
Heitkamp has long called for the Senate to vote on and confirm nominees to serve on the Ex-Im Bank Board. The Bank hasn’t been able to fully function in over three years because the board lacks the quorum necessary to approve loans over $10 million to support job-creating businesses in North Dakota and across the country. Heitkamp wants to get the Bank back up and fully functioning so it can support American jobs and businesses, including many across North Dakota.
In North Dakota alone, businesses have $50 million of authorizations from the Bank that could be put at risk in the future if it doesn’t have a full board seated or authority to boost lending without a quorum. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been put in jeopardy because of the uncertainty surrounding the Bank, as over $43 billion of deals wait in limbo to be approved by the Board.
“There’s a great deal of talk in Congress about supporting American jobs and American manufacturing – but it’s pretty empty rhetoric unless there are actions behind it. Getting the Export-Import Bank — which has supported American jobs and businesses for over 80 years at no cost to the taxpayers – back up and fully functioning would help accomplish that goal and it just makes sense,” said Heitkamp. “Unfortunately, the Bank has been hampered for the past three years. At my urging, the administration nominated Kimberly Reed to serve as the head of the Bank. If we want to ‘win’ on trade, compete with China, rein in our country’s trade deficits, and level the playing field for American workers and businesses companies, one of the easiest and most impactful steps Congress can take right now is to confirm Ms. Reed and other nominees to the Bank Board, which will get the Ex-Im Bank up and running as quickly as possible.”
Last December, Heitkamp helped pass out of the Senate Banking Committee four nominees to serve on the Export-Import Bank’s Board of Directors, getting the Bank’s board one step closer to having the quorum it needs to fully operate and support American jobs and businesses, including many in North Dakota. Now those nominees need to pass in the full Senate.
In April, Heitkamp spoke at the Export-Import Bank’s annual conference, where she met with Kimberly Reed and discussed the importance of a fully functioning bank for the economic success of rural communities. Heitkamp also recently spoke on the Senate floor pushing for a vote to confirm the pending Export-Import Bank nominees.
Heitkamp pressed President-elect Trump to get the bank fully functioning in a meeting at Trump Tower in December 2016, and she secured a commitment from him to get the Bank up and running in a meeting shortly after he was sworn in.
Background on the Export-Import Bank
In June 2015, Congress let the Export-Import Bank expire for the first time in the agency’s more than 80 year history. In December 2015, Congress passed Heitkamp’s legislation to reauthorize the Bank with strong bipartisan support. But the agency still hasn’t been able to fully function. The Export-Import Bank is an independent federal government agency and the official export credit agency of the United States.
Former Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) had refused for a year to hold a committee vote on the then-nominee to the Ex-Im Bank Board. This inaction prevented the lack of a quorum on the five-member board and halted the agency from financing deals over $10 million. As a result, it has hindered support for American jobs and businesses – including for small suppliers of companies that use the Bank – and prevented them from remaining competitive in the global economy. Some American companies have already been forced to move American jobs overseas because they have not been able to access financing from the Ex-Im Bank.
The Ex-Im Bank has helped North Dakota businesses grow, expand, and hire more American workers, supporting $42 million in exports since 2011 from North Dakota alone, as well as 633 jobs across the state by providing loans, loan guarantees, and insurance to facilitate overseas sales by U.S. firms.