Last week, a group of 700 manufacturers from across America descended on Washington DC for a “Fly In” day on Capitol Hill. The purpose of the day was to voice support for the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank. Rosemary Coates was invited to attend by the National Association of Manufacturers and spent two days talking with senior executives and legislators in support of reauthorization of the Bank.
The Ex-Im Bank supports manufacturers with low-cost loans to help finance export deals. About 75% of the money goes to large manufacturers such as Boeing and GE, however thousands of suppliers to these companies are also affected. About 6000 small and medium sized manufacturers have also received financing through the Ex-Im Bank which helps to keep American products competitive on the world market. Many of these small manufacturers were in attendance at the Fly-In and described how devastating it will be for their businesses if the Bank is not reauthorized.
Normally, the Ex-Im Bank is reauthorized with bipartisan support and not much discussion. After all, the Ex-Im Bank has a big positive effect on exporters, it has returned about $7 billion in profits to the US Treasury and it helps to support jobs all across America. It levels the playing field against more than 60 other countries that have their own export banks.
Many Republicans and Democrats avidly support the work of Ex-Im Bank. But this time, a group of conservatives and the Heritage Foundation are fighting against reauthorization, citing ideological concerns over government interference in a free market economy.
So the manufacturers arrived in Washington to tell their stories. They spent the first day being briefed on the work of the Ex-Im Bank and what messages to tell their legislators about reauthorization. On the second day, the manufacturers were split up by states and went to visit Senators and Congressmen in their respective regions. Rosemary and the rest of the delegation from California met with Senator Boxer and Senator Feinstein at the Hart Senate Office Building. In the afternoon, a smaller group met with Representatives Anna Eshoo (Silicon Valley), Sam Farr (Carmel) and Scott Peters (San Diego). All five of these California legislators are supporting reauthorization.
The time spent with the legislators and their aides was brief, but memorable. Rosemary spoke up and introduced the Reshoring Institute and the good work being done to support US manufacturing and supply chain student interns at the University of San Diego.
The Ex-Im Bank comes up for a reauthorization vote in June.