Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | George Allen | Export-Import | businesses | global

George Allen: US Needs Export-Import Bank

By    |   Monday, 28 Apr 2014 06:38 PM

The federal government needs to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank in order to ensure the vitality of U.S. businesses in a hypercompetitive global marketplace in which 95 percent of consumers reside outside of this country, former Sen. George Allen says.

The Export-Import Bank is an independent federal organization set up in 1934 to provide credit for overseas companies looking to purchase U.S. goods. During the 2013 fiscal year, the bank authorized $27.3 billion in financing.

Despite condemning it as "little more than a fund for corporate welfare" during the 2008 election campaign, President Barack Obama reauthorized the Export-Import Bank and increased its financing cap by 40 percent in 2012 with the unwavering support of congressional Democrats and some Republicans.

More recently, however, an increasing number of conservatives have become disenchanted with the idea of major corporations getting capital from the Ex-Im Bank, allowing them to jump into foreign markets while U.S. taxpayers shoulder the risk.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling are both urging their Republican colleagues not to reauthorize the bank.

But George Allen, former Virginia governor and U.S. senator from that state, told J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that the implication that the Ex-Im Bank is hurting taxpayers is incorrect.

"The taxpayers benefit from it," Allen said. "It's not as if it's any subsidy, it actually makes money, and in fact $1 billion was returned just last year to help offset the deficit spending in Washington. So, to me it's something that works.

"Look, most people would be for American jobs and American manufacturers to be able to compete internationally, and that's what this Ex-Im Bank allows," he said Monday.

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Allen likened the Ex-Im Bank to being "a lender of last resort," allowing companies or purchasers having difficulty obtaining a line of credit to do so. So, when foreign customers looking to purchase U.S.-manufactured goods would prefer to finance purchases, rather than paying cash up front, the Ex-Im Bank helps guarantee that payment.

According to Allen, the purchaser repays the loan to Ex-Im, and it "doesn't cost the taxpayer a penny."

"It's not as if the United States says to a company in, let's say Colombia, that you must buy this American-made product," Allen said. "They'd like to buy an American-made product, which may be competing with one that could be made in Europe, it could be made in Brazil, it might be made in China.

"All those other countries would be subsidizing in a variety of ways or helping their domestic manufacturer. If the U.S. doesn't at least help out with the financing of it and being a backstop, in effect, for it, then the U.S. manufacturer won't be able to sell that product into Colombia. So, it doesn't do anything other than help our exports around the world and therefore support American jobs here at home."

Allen argues that there is nothing more Republican than an institution like the Ex-Im Bank, which has a history of spurring U.S. business and jobs while helping to reduce the federal deficit at no cost to taxpayers.

"I'm one" Allen said, "who got motivated to get involved in organized politics by Ronald Reagan, who in 1986, when it was being reauthorized then, he said, 'it sends an important signal to both our exporting community and to foreign suppliers that American exporters will continue to be able to compete vigorously for business throughout the world.' President Reagan was right then, and those words ring true today."

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The federal government needs to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank in order to ensure the vitality of U.S. businesses in a hypercompetitive global marketplace in which 95 percent of consumers reside outside of this country, former Sen. George Allen says.
George Allen, Export-Import, businesses, global
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2014-38-28
Monday, 28 Apr 2014 06:38 PM
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