Democrats Move to Force a Vote on Export-Import Bank
With just 26 legislative days left until the Export-Import Bank closes its doors on June 30, House Democrats today initiated an effort to bypass House Republican leadership that would force a vote on legislation to extend the Bank's charter.
Three key Democratic members of the Financial Services Committee have joined with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Whip Steny Hoyer to sign a discharge petition; a procedure that, if supported by a majority of the House, would bring legislation to reauthorize and reform the Export-Import Bank up for a vote. Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade, led the effort, which took place moments ago on the House Floor.
"A discharge petition is Congress saying enough is enough, and recent news of sluggish economic growth makes a vote in favor of American exports that much more urgent," said Congressman Heck. "We need tools like the Export-Import Bank to help our American companies succeed on the global stage, and we will not sit back and do nothing when so many American jobs are at stake. "
"Time for action on the Export-Import Bank is running out. Democrats will not sit by and allow the Bank to close down without doing all we can to ensure it continues to be an engine of jobs and economic growth," said Ranking Member Waters. "The uncertainty surrounding the Export-Import Bank's future is already hurting U.S. businesses and our ability to compete globally. I'm hopeful that Republicans who understand the indispensable role of the Export-Import Bank will help us prevent another self-inflicted wound, by joining us in standing up for American jobs, businesses and economic growth."
"We must do everything in our power to level the playing field and keep our homegrown businesses competitive in the global marketplace," said Ranking Member Moore. "With such a strong display of bipartisan support, it is shameful that just a handful of the Republican Party's most extreme members are putting America's economic interests at risk. I share the frustration and anger of American workers who feel that their livelihoods are being used by the Tea Party in a game to score political points. Our workers and our country deserve better."
"The Export-Import Bank is an essential tool that creates jobs here at home and enables American manufacturers to compete overseas," said Leader Pelosi. "It is outrageous that Republicans would plan to deal such a wanton blow to America's workers, America's businesses, and America's economy. With this discharge petition, Democrats are demanding a vote to maintain this vital pillar of American competitiveness."
"Today, I'm proud to sign onto a discharge petition that would bring to the House Floor a multi-year reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which directly supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country," stated Whip Hoyer. "There is strong, bipartisan support for the Export-Import Bank, and legislation to reauthorize the Bank's charter would pass if House Republican leaders allow the House to work its will. I encourage my colleagues across the aisle to join us in signing this petition so that we can bring a bill to the Floor for a vote and provide America's businesses with the certainty that they will have tools necessary to access foreign markets and compete on a level playing field. I also thank Reps. Heck, Waters, and Moore for their leadership in this effort."
Beginning today, Members of Congress can sign the discharge petition for H.R. 1031, which renews Ex-Im's charter for seven years, increases its lending authority to meet the needs of U.S. exporters, and modernizes the Bank's programs to better serve small and medium-sized businesses. Almost immediately after being introduced in February, the measure garnered the support of 190 Democratic Members. A separate measure to extend the Bank's charter has been cosponsored by 60 Republicans, making clear that a majority of the House supports a long-term extension of the Export-Import Bank.
The discharge petition requires a simple majority of House members to sign in order for the bill to be considered on the Floor. Given the importance of the Export-Import Bank to American jobs, small businesses, the economy and our international standing, this will be the first discharge petition of the 114th Congress.
In the coming days, a list of Members who have signed onto the discharge petition will be available by visiting the House Clerk's office.