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Rep. Waters: Ex-Im Bank Recipients are Americans, not ‘Crony Capitalists’

May 20, 2014
Press Release

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, reiterated her strong support for the Export-Import Bank and the quick renewal of its charter.

Waters' comments come in reaction to remarks made by Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling during a speech today at the conservative Heritage Foundation, in which he once again expressed his longstanding opposition to the Bank.

"I am disappointed, but not surprised, by Chairman Hensarling's statements disparaging the Export-Import Bank and the countless businesses that rely on it to grow, create jobs and compete in the global economy.

The Chairman often decries the Bank as an example of ‘crony capitalism.' I challenge him to call the thousands of hard-working small businesses owners across the country ‘crony capitalists.' They are investing in their businesses, creating jobs and, with help from the Ex-Im Bank, expanding into foreign markets. Take Steven Wilburn, a veteran and Purple Heart recipient who used Ex-Im to create a thriving business that manufactures green energy equipment. Or Michael Boyle, the Republican Navy Veteran who has relied on the Bank to help his global energy business grow by 400 percent. Tell it to the 1.2 million private sector employees whose jobs have been created or sustained as a result of the Bank over the past 5 years.

None of these people are so-called "crony capitalists." They are hardworking small business owners that form the backbone of our economy. They are Americans.

According to the Bank, last year nearly 90 percent of total transactions went to a record number of small businesses. The Bank doesn't cost taxpayers a dime and in 2013 generated a record profit for taxpayers of more than $1 billion. The uncertainty surrounding the Bank's September 30 expiration is already costing American businesses winnable contracts to foreign competitors.

The Export-Import Bank's charter has been renewed by Congress 15 times with little or no controversy, under both Republican and Democratic Administrations. Before using words like ‘cronyism,' I would urge the Chairman to remember that Ex-Im renewal is actually about creating jobs, growing small businesses and supporting the work of everyday Americans."

As a result of the refusal of Chairman Hensarling to even hold a hearing on Ex-Im's reauthorization Ranking Member Waters held a panel discussion in April on the importance of reauthorization of the Bank's charter to create and sustain American jobs. The event featured the perspectives of a diverse array of business owners, large and small, unions and key members of Congress. To view the webcast of the panel, click here.