I truly appreciate the members of the South Carolina State Senate, in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote, for passing the resolution encouraging Congress and the congressional delegation to support reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.
The state Senate passed the resolution overwhelmingly late yesterday afternoon by a vote of 32-2. The House of Representatives passed the resolution unanimously earlier in the day.
I also want to thank Senator Paul Campbell for his help in rounding up support for this important measure. Given the devastating impact this would have on jobs in South Carolina, the strong statements of support from the South Carolina State Legislature will help build momentum for Ex-Im reauthorization in the halls of Congress.
Both large and small businesses in South Carolina have benefitted from Ex-Im. One of the most prominent examples is The Boeing Company which opened the 787 Dreamliner production facility in North Charleston. The facility employs more than 6,000 people in South Carolina and is responsible for thousands of associated jobs.
Jim McNerney, President and CEO of Boeing, noted in a letter to me that eight out of every ten Boeing 787 Dreamliners now built in South Carolina are expected to be purchased by international customers who are eligible for and routinely seek export credit support from Ex-Im Bank. Without Ex-Im, many of these customers would purchase from Airbus, which is made in Europe and backed by multiple European export credit agencies.
The reauthorization of Ex-Im will directly benefit South Carolina’s job creation efforts and manufacturing industries. It is imperative we continue to grow our ability to export goods made in South Carolina around the world.
I wish we didn’t need an Ex-Im bank, but other countries have far more aggressive financing regimes in place. The United States cannot and should not unilaterally disarm. However, it is my goal to do more than reauthorize Ex-Im, we should also work to improve its operations. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to achieve both goals of reauthorization and improvement of Ex-Im.
Last year, exports from South Carolina increased by 21 percent. We need to continue on that path, creating jobs and putting South Carolinians back to work. If Congress does not reauthorize Ex-Im, it will have a devastating impact to both our state and national economy.
The Export-Import Bank was established in 1934 and since Ex-Im was last reauthorized in 2006, the bank has returned $3.4 billion to the U.S. Treasury above and beyond the costs of its operations.