By SEN. CLAIRE McCASKILL
Even as we’re kicking off football season, we can all recognize that one area in which we shouldn’t just be tossing the ball back and forth is policy-making.
Unfortunately, instead of putting the necessary polices into place to keep boosting jobs and businesses, some members of Congress have once against turned a traditionally nonpartisan issue into the next controversial political football.
As I traveled around Missouri in recent weeks, I saw signs of our country’s economic recovery everywhere. Businesses are thriving, companies are hiring, and construction is booming.
But we have more work to do. To keep us on this path to recovery, we’ve got to make sure we’re using every available resource at our disposal to continue boosting jobs and growing our businesses.
One of the most import tools in that toolkit is the Export-Import Bank, which helps Missouri businesses boost jobs and gives them a competitive edge to succeed internationally. This should be something that everyone, regardless of party, can get behind.
But, the Export-Import Bank has become the latest victim in an unfortunate trend of usually bipartisan efforts being turned into a political football by Tea Party Republicans.
Congress is scheduled to vote this week on whether to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank, which is set to expire on September 30.
In years past, this vote has been nonpartisan, and noncontroversial. In fact, former President Ronald Reagan once said that exports “create and sustain jobs for millions of American workers and contribute to the growth and strength of the United States economy. The Export-Import Bank contributes in a significant way to our nation’s export sales.”
But this year, it’s deeply disappointing that some extreme lawmakers are putting this vote in jeopardy.
CRITICAL TO JOB CREATION
These leaders should travel around their states as I did, listening to employees and meeting with executives at some of the 96 Missouri businesses that benefit from the Export-Import Bank.
Nearly everyone at these companies agreed that the job-creating benefits the Export-Import Bank provides are critical to keeping their businesses strong and competitive, allowing them to succeed in the increasingly competitive global market.
Everywhere I went, folks told me the Export-Import Bank is one of the most important tools they have — helping them sell their goods and services to customers across the globe, and supports jobs for thousands of Missourians.
VALUABLE TO BUSINESS
Export-Import Bank’s work is simple and incredibly valuable to American business.
The Bank supports American jobs by helping to finance foreign sales of U.S. products through loan guarantees, direct loans, and credit insurance, all at no cost to taxpayers.
The bank actually earns revenue for the Treasury, including more than $1 billion in 2013 alone. Since 2009, the Export-Import Bank has supported $188 billion in U.S. exports and 1.2 million American jobs. More than 3,400 small businesses rely on the bank to finance export deals
In Missouri, the Export-Import Bank has supported $1 billion in exports from 96 Missouri companies since 2007. And nearly 85 percent of businesses supported by the Export-Import Bank are small and medium-sized businesses.
Missouri’s businesses need this competitive edge to grow and thrive.
That’s why it’s critical that Congress take bipartisan action to renew the Export-Import Bank — and keep this valuable tool in the hands of Missouri businesses.
(Claire McCaskill is the senior U.S. Senator from Missouri.)