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Sen. Coons, Rep. Carney push for EXIM Bank reauthorization

Tom Byrne/Delaware Public Media

Two members of Delaware’s congressional delegation were in New Castle today (Monday) highlighting how a squabble on Capitol Hill over reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank could hurt the First State. 

The EXIM Bank, which helps provide financing and credit for export projects when private banks can’t or won’t, is set to expire June 30th without Congressional reauthorization of  its charter.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) and Rep. John Carney (D-Delaware) say if that happens some small Delaware businesses such as V&S Galvanizing in New Castle will suffer.  V&S galvanizes steel parts exported to build bridges in a number of African countries.  Coons says without EXIM funding the deals to send those bridges overseas will disappear -- and V&S’s 65 person workforce will shrink.

“If EXIM expires and is not reauthorized, half of their workforce will be laid off, and their work galvanizing bridges for export to Africa will end," said Coons after touring the V&S facility. "There is no other private sector replacement for EXIM financing.  It’s absolutely essential that we work together across the aisle – House and Senate – to find a path to reauthorizing EXIM Bank”

Coons says opposition to reauthorizing the bank mainly comes from some House Republicans who feel the US government shouldn’t be involved in exporting financing – that it should be left to the private sector.

He disagrees.

“A very wide range of business leaders, Democrats and Republicans believe they’re wrong," said Coons. "All of our major competitors in the global marketplace have Export Credit Agencies.  So, we would literally be unilaterally disarming in an increasingly competitive global environment.  I don’t think that’s wise. ”

EXIM Bank chair Fred Hochberg was with Coons and Carney in New Castle. He says the private sector has said it would only get involved in the bridge deals V&S is a part of with a guarantee from the EXIM Bank behind it. He adds talk of not reauthorizing EXIM is already hurting U.S. companies competing with overseas companies.

“This interruption we’re talking about, this uncertainty, competitors just say you can’t rely on the US government.  The US government won’t back you," said Hochberg And therefore we’re putting a lot of US jobs in jeopardy just by this debate and dragging it out as long as we have.”

The EXIM bank was last reauthorized in 2008.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.