Instead of working to create jobs and help American manufacturers compete in the international market place, short-sighted, bone-headed members of Congress conspired to shut down America's 81-year old Export Import Bank. Without the financing of last resort, American businesses have lost contracts to foreign competitors. Layoffs are being announced in almost every state in the nation.
Instead of local media calling the members of Congress to task for their direct action against the bank, most are ignoring the story. In Dallas, the DMN did cover the comments of the CEO of GE about their board's decision not to relocate their national headquarters (with about 5000 jobs) to Dallas. He directly cited Jeb Hensarling's assault on the Export/Import Bank. GE decided against investing in a region which elects members to Congress who are directly hostile to the bank which enables them to be competitive. Hensarling's statement on the Export/Import Bank angered C.E.O.s of businesses which relied on the Bank's services.
"This is a small step toward renewing a competitive free-market economy and arresting the rise of the progressive welfare state and the cronyism connected to it. Ex-Im is not only corporate welfare, it is corporate welfare for foreign companies and countries." -Jeb Hensarling Press Release - June 25, 2015).
Americans who value their jobs should examine the position on the Export/Import Bank taken by the U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators elected to Congress from their Districts. Failure to renew the Bank's charter is a direct assault on jobs. It is leading to more American jobs moving off-shore.
The Dallas Morning News failed to mention that Michael Burgess, Kenny Marchant, Louie Gohmert and Ted Poe have worked with Jeb Hensarling for over two years to get the Export/Import Bank shut down. They have lashed out at the bank and the businesses which utilize its services, labeling its services "Corporate Welfare."
Ironically, the Bank does not cost the Taxpayers ONE CENT. All operation costs of the EX/IM Bank are paid by the fees and interest charged to the foreign borrowers who finance the American-made goods and services they import! In fact, in 2014, the EX/IM Bank transferred into the U.S. Treasury over $675 Mil which was profits it made after all their operating expenses were paid.
There is no substance to the claims of Tea Party extremist like Gohmert, Marchant, Burgess, Poe and Hensarling that this is "corporate welfare."
They don't consider services of commercial lenders who finance homes and automobiles "welfare." The borrowers of the Import/Export bank pay back the loans and pay fees and interest. The Ex/Im Bank does not compete with private lenders. It is a lender of last resort. They step in after other lenders refuse to lend.
Granted, some of America's largest corporations use the services of the Export/Import Bank. Boeing, GE, General Dynamics utilize the bank for some of their contracts. The majority of the loans go to small to medium exporter. Even the larger corporation's contracts support small to medium sub-contractors.Helping to level the playing field for American businesses so that they can compete with foreign manufacturers is a legitimate role for our Federal Government. Large and small businesses are employers. Sometimes when a small business fails, hundreds of employees lose their jobs. That hurts the local economy. When a large business loses contracts, thousands of employees lose their jobs and the small to mid-sized businesses which do business with them are frequently also forced to down-size. That hurts the entire region and frequently has a negative ripple-effect that goes across our entire nation.
The Export/Import Bank has one of the lowest default rates of any lending institution in this nation! Renewing the Bank's Charter is a Win/Win for American and for American workers. However, a handful of boneheaded right wing zealots decided to torpedo American jobs by refusing to renew its charter.
Now American workers are losing their jobs. Some companies are turning to other nations to get financing for contracts they have invested a lot into and they will face big losses if they cannot secure. Without financing, buyers cannot purchase from our suppliers. So many are turning to countries such as Canada to provide the financing. These financial agreements usually require that the supplier employ citizens of the country which provides the financing.
In East Texas, Louie Gohmert (R) represents the Texas First District in the U.S. Congress. That district has one of the state's highest unemployment and under employment rates. Gohmert, despite his decade in office, has not helped the region solve its employment problems. He has not worked to help leaders in the region attract new businesses to the region. He has protected the fossil fuel industry by voting for tax breaks and subsidies. He does not see these direct transfers from the budget to his pet industries as "corporate welfare" yet calls the services of the Export Import Bank (which do not transfer any taxpayer money to anyone) "welfare!"
Dr. Shirley McKellar, PhD of Tyler is challenging Gohmert for the US-TX 1 seat in Congress.
The Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC issued this message this week utilizing talking points by McKellar on Gohmert's opposition to the renewal of the charter of the Export/Import Bank.
McKellar is a charismatic, multi-degreed Tyler businesswoman. An R.N., she enlisted in the Army and served 18 months of her over 18 years of Active Duty in Iraq and Germany supporting our troops medically. Injured in Iraq, she returned home and was told that she would have to wait 18 months for the medical treatment she needed to overcome her injuries. Her local Congressman (Louie Gohmert) voted for across the board cuts to Veterans services. The V.A. was in crisis. Shirley McKellar is a fighter. She fought for herself. She underwent numerous surgeries and excruciating rehab. Much of her treatment was at Brooks in San Antonio. There she listened, observed, and learned. She was determined to change things. As a civilian, she has stepped forward to help people solve some of the problems Congressman Gohmert has ignored. She is fighting to take his seat in Congress so that she can help solve more problems for people who live in the Texas First District.
Changing thing, improving things, is nothing new to Shirley McKellar. She has been doing that all her life. In business, before entering the military, she was a leader and educator in the health care field and a leader in her community. In the military, she led in establishing medical programs for women soldiers. She was instrumental in establishing the Breast Cancer Screening Program for the European Theater for the U.S. Military. She implemented a critical response training program which saved the government money by in-house training which helped to alleviate a shortage of trained medical staff. Back at home, after being forced to retire by her injuries, she was turned her attention to serving here. In conjunction with the UT Austin Medical School she established the African American Breast Cancer Awareness Program and served as site manager for the UT Tyler campus.
Lack of good paying jobs are one of her greatest concerns. She saw parents struggling to pay the rent and to provide for their children. Jobs were especially in short supply. Some were offered jobs working nights or weekends. Safe, affordable child care was not available in Tyler.. Dr. McKellar used a non-profit organization she had co-founded, and partnered with others to provide 24/7 childcare. This allowed parents to go to work and also created jobs for others caring for the children. Some solutions are not high-tech. Many require listening, observing, and using "common sense."
It appears that the Republican (Tea Party) former judge who the Texas First District has sent to Congress is short on using "common sense." There is nothing "conservative" about costing the U.S. Treasury over $675Million dollars in profit from a bank which enables American businesses to be competitive in the world market and does not use one cent in taxpayer money for operations. "Common sense" does not lead to costing American workers their jobs by removing the financing which enables foreign buyers to purchase American-made goods.
In the US-7th District (Houston) incumbent John Culberson (R) also opposed the renewal of the Ex/Im Bank's charter. City of Houston Assistant Attorney James Cargas was the Democratic Nominee in the U.S. TX-7th in 2014. He's kicking off his 2016 Congressional Campaign in mid September. Cargas served under Bill Richardson in the Energy Department during Bill Clinton's administration. An Oil and Gas attorney, Cargas specialized in sustainable development. Houston, one of our nation's energy centers, has converted its municipal energy supplies to sustainable sources during Cargas' time with the City. He is not the only voice in Houston which moved the city in this direction, but it is probable that his training and expertise was one of the resources Mayor Parker relied upon during this transformation. This saved the City money and did not undermine the city's support for the fossil fuel intensive refinery and exploration companies based there.
Cargas understands the importance of exports in our nation's economy. Renewal of the Export/Import Bank's charter to protect American jobs is high on his list of things which must be accomplished. Culberson's opposition to the bank is costing Houston based businesses contracts. Loss of contracts leads to layoffs. Layoffs trickle down and impact other small to large businesses. Without pay checks, consumers cannot patronize retailers. This impacts the tax base of cities. Cargas understands this, but unfortunately, the incumbent in Congress seems to myopic to comprehend the importance of the 81-year old American Export/Import Bank.
No Republican or Democrat have filed yet to challenge Jeb Hensarling, Kenny Marchant or Michael Burgess. It will be unfortunate if they are allowed to get a free-ride to re-election in 2016. In addition to the loss of potential growth by the decision of GE not to relocate to Dallas, they are failing the business community of their districts and costing American jobs. General Dynamics is among the larger employers in the NT region who use the EX/Im Bank for financing. As the U.S. Military has cut back on aircraft purchases, DFW aircraft manufacturers and others across the US have converted some of their lines to building civilian aircraft. Loss of financing for foreign exports at at time when the industry is attempting to shift production into the civilian market makes it very difficult for these manufacturers to service contracts with foreign buyers, and to keep maintain their current workforce levels here in the United States.
Faith Chatham is the CFO/Developmental Officer for the Texas Federal Blue Seed PAC. She is a DFW-based activist/writer who frequently covers Environmental, Ethics, Public Policy and Campaign Finance. She was Chief of Staff/Strategist for the 2014 Cozad for Congress campaign. Follow her on Twitter @faithchatham or @txfedblueseed or @arllngtonfocus
See Daily Kos post for articles documenting the impact of Congress not renewing the Bank's Charter on U.S. Jobs.