Joao Simoes, president of Davenport Aviation, an aircraft parts distribution company in Columbus that has utilized the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank to help fund business expansion into foreign markets, told reporters on a conference call Wednesday with Ohio’s senior U.S. Senator, that there’s a real need for small businesses like his to have it available if they want to continue doing business around the world. Simoes highlighted the need for swift reauthorization, and said any delay could threaten jobs.
“We consider the Ex-Im Bank a critical tool to help our company grow.” Simoes said today. “Our company’s first sale in 2009 was an export to Africa that was only possible because we were able to secure backing from the Ex-Im Bank to finance that order.”
Brown And Portman Support Ex-Im Bank
Sen. Sherrod Brown told reporters that more than 350 Ohio businesses–including 226 small businesses–have received direct financial assistance from the Ex-Im Bank to support $3 billion of exports from 2007-2015. If Congress does not act by June 30, Sen. Brown said authorization for the Ex-Im Bank, which he reminded operates at no cost to taxpayers and actually generates revenue for the U.S. Treasury, will lapse.
“In today’s global economy, we need to support Ohio businesses trying to sell their products around the globe,” Sen Brown said. “The Export-Import Bank not only fills gaps in private export financing, its benefits pay dividends throughout the economy – spurring more manufacturing, more exports, and more jobs. That’s why reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank is essential – if we don’t act by June 30, U.S. businesses will lose an important tool that helps them sell their goods around the world.” Ohio’s junior U.S. Senator, Republican Rob Portman, who’s up for reelection next year, is also a backer of the Ex-Im Bank.
With both Ohio senators representing opposing parties, and small business in need of its financing, as Mr. Simoes testified to, it puts Ohio Gov. John Kasich in an awkward position of now disapproving of an effort he admitted to voting for at least twice while a congressman, and taking a valuable tool away from small businesses he says he wants to help.
Kasich Caters To Far Right Wing Fringe
Asked why he thinks Gov. Kasich was for the Ex-Im Bank as a congressman for 18 years and is now against it now that he’s running for president, Sen. Brown said it’s part of the political opportunity for Republican presidential hopeful candidates like Gov. Kasich to cater to those in the far right wing fringe of the party. “Gov. Kasich wants to provide assistance to Ohio companies, I hope he would want to do that nationally, but I don’t see any compelling reason to backtrack unless it’s for the far right ideologues of party,” he said when I asked him about the governor’s new-found opposition to Ex-Im Bank.
Sen. Brown said its bad and shameful government when conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute keep a scorecard of votes. Republican presidential politics can’t get far enough to the right, he said, adding, “I’m amazed at American politics.”
Information sent to reporters following the call shows that just last year, the Ex-Im Bank supported more than $27 billion in exports and 164,000 American jobs, including more than $250 million in Ohio. More than 60 percent of that was transactions done by small businesses, Brown said about a county-by-county report detailing Ohio businesses that have relied on Ex-Im Bank funding from 2007-2015.
The Ex-Im Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance, and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services. By charging fees and interest on all loan-related transactions, the Ex-Im Bank is self-sustaining and annually covers all operation and loan costs, and in recent years has contributed revenues to the U.S. Treasury General Fund, Brown’s office said in prepared remarks.
Gov. Kasich lumped the Ex-Im Bank into his view of what constitutes corporate welfare. His reasoning now, based on what he told one reporter, is that he doesn’t think the woman who cleaned his hotel room would want to spend her money the way Ex-Im does. The governor did not say what other government lending programs, including tax cuts, he also considers corporate welfare, but the list would surely be long. Gov. Kasich’s voting record in congress supporting the Ex-Im Bank, and other government funding, is both long and in plain sight.