San Antonio Express News: Export-Import Bank supports border economy

Washington, September 24, 2014

Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank is about helping America win. The House last week voted on a continuing resolution that included a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank until June 30, 2015. I voted to support that extension but a long-term reauthorization of the bank must be passed to provide stability to businesses that rely on its export support.

Chartered in 1945, the Export-Import Bank is one of the most important tools for job creation. It helps our companies compete against foreign companies backed by their governments.

The bank focuses on financing and facilitating the U.S. export of goods and services. It levels the playing field for manufacturers competing in foreign markets, enables thousands of small businesses to sell goods overseas, boosts exports and reduces our trade deficit gap.

When we boost exports, we create growth for the private sector as well as better paying jobs. The bank supports increased competitiveness for companies in international markets and has supported 1.2 million private sector jobs since 2009. During the past six years, it has supported $236 billion in exports nationally.

The Export-Import Bank is helping businesses in Texas. During the past seven years, exporters supported by the bank have produced more than $24 billion in total export value. In my congressional district, the Export-Import Bank supported $235 million in exports during the same period.

More than 65 percent of exporters benefiting from the Export-Import Bank are small businesses. In Texas, the bank supports 817 small businesses, 120 of them minority-owned. And in my district, the bank supports 22 small businesses, six of them minority-owned.

As a representative of the third-largest port in the country, Laredo, I am especially supportive of the bank's assistance for exporters. Among the top three destinations of U.S. exports are Mexico and Colombia, important partners in Latin America.

Every day, thousands of 18-wheelers cross into Laredo, bringing valuable trade and commerce. In my district, most businesses benefiting from the bank work in international trade and are based along the border. We are working in South Texas to make the region even more competitive and open to international trade. Reauthorization of the bank is a valuable part of that.

The bank has helped Texas companies compete in the global marketplace. We need a long term reauthorization that ends the uncertainty holding back investment in our economy. That is why I am a co-sponsor of HR 4950, the Protecting American Jobs and Exports Act, which extends authorization of the Export Import Bank through 2021.

It's time to put Texas businesses and middle-class families first and pass a long-term reauthorization of the bank.