Mr. President, I rise today to speak in support of reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. I am on the floor with the Senator from Washington, Senator Cantwell, who has been such a leader as head of the small business committee on this issue. 

As I heard the Senator from Maryland talk about the importance of student loans to our economy and the importance to our economy for having people being able to go out there and get the education and fill the jobs today, another piece of this is to make sure those markets are available, to make sure our businesses are able to compete internationally, both small and big, with companies from across the world. This means jobs in America. Exports are critical to the U.S. economy, and we need to help 
our businesses, small and large, boost their exports. 

When 95 percent of the world's customers live outside of our borders, there is literally a world of opportunity out there for U.S. business. It used to be we were just focused on Canada, especially in Minnesota, and Mexico, but we know there is a world of opportunity in emerging markets in places such as Asia and Africa, for us to finally be making things in America and having people buy them in other countries. 

As a Senator, I have been working to boost America's ability to compete in the global economy and to open up these markets. That is why I strongly support reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. 

I thank Senator Cantwell for her efforts in leading this fight, and I thank leadership on both sides of the banking committee. 

As Senate chair of the Joint Economic Committee, today I am releasing a report on ``The Contribution of Exports to Economic Growth and the Important Role of the Export-Import Bank.'' 

According to one analysis, exports are projected to account for almost 40 percent of real U.S. GDP growth over this decade. 

We know we have stabilized the economy in America, but the only way we are going to be able to expand it, to add more jobs, to make sure people are working at their fullest potential, is to be able to export things to other countries with these emerging middle classes in places such as India and other countries where we can actually sell our goods. 

This report highlights that the Export-Import Bank plays a crucial role in supporting businesses, particularly small businesses, to find markets for their products. What does the report show? Well, first it shows the economy has expanded for the past 4 years and U.S. exports have been the ticket to that growth. 

Last year U.S. exports of goods reached an all-time high, $2.3 trillion or 13.5 percent of U.S. GDP, an increase of 35 percent since 2009. Think of the jobs that means in America. 

In 2013, U.S. exports of goods and services were responsible for 11.3 million jobs, an increase of 1.6 million jobs since 2009. 

Manufacturing and agricultural producers have also been able to increase their exports, supporting economic recovery and job growth. In the manufacturing sector, nearly 25 percent of production is exported and these exports are responsible for about 3 million jobs. 

I see this in Minnesota. In 2013, our goods and services exports rose to $20.7 billion, and Minnesota was ranked the fourth largest agriculture exporting State in 2012, up from sixth in 2011. 

Do you know what that means in real terms? Our unemployment rate is down to 4.5 percent. Our Twin Cities area has the lowest unemployment rate of any metropolitan area in the country, and it is very much about exports. Companies--not just the big ones, but the small ones--that have learned to export and are willing to use the tools to export, means using the Export-Import Bank. 

Yet U.S. exporters, as we all know, are competing with foreign producers in places such as Germany, France, and China, which are backed by their own countries' credit export programs and often receive other government subsidies. 

I ask my friends who are slowing down this reauthorization, how can we say to our U.S. companies, big and small, that we are going to allow 60 other countries, including the top 10 exporting countries globally--that they can have credit export programs but our companies can't have them in the United States?

I will show you what I mean by this report. 

I commend to colleagues the September 2014 Joint Economic Committee report, ``The Contribution of Exports to Economic Growth and the Important Role of the Export-Import Bank,'' that I referred to earlier. 

On the graph and report in figure 2 we show ``Comparison between U.S. and Other Countries' Export Credit Subsidies.'' 

What do these numbers show? This number is about ``New medium- and long-term official export credit volumes, 2013, billions of U.S. dollars.'' It shows that China's medium- and long-term credit export volumes are at $45.5 billion. 

That is what we are doing and that is why we see them--as Senator Cantwell will discuss--going into markets such as Africa and opening those markets up for their companies, because they are willing to help them out of their own version of the Export-Import Bank--$45.5 billion in China. 

Germany, a very successful economy, is at $22.6 billion in credit volume. Where is the United States? We are at $14.5 billion. We are above countries such as France, Italy, and Brazil, but we are below countries such as China, Germany, and South Korea. 

You can imagine the impact if we got rid of the Export-Import Bank. You can imagine--which we cannot allow to happen. 

The Export-Import Bank was first authorized in 1934. It supports U.S. businesses by providing financing that the private sector that may be unable or unwilling to do at competitive rates. The Export-Import Bank does this by providing loans, loan guarantees, and insurance policies to increase export opportunities. 

In 2013, as our study shows, the Export-Import Bank supported approximately 205,000 U.S. jobs and $37.4 billion in U.S. exports. It made 745 new loans and loan guarantees worth $21.8 billion. 

By issuing these loans, loan guarantees, and insurance policies, the Export-Import Bank helped provide funding for projects ranging from short-term investments to more complex and long-term transactions such as transportation and other infrastructure projects. 

The Export-Import Bank also steps in to provide credit to open up these new markets such as Africa, as I have focused on. For example, in the past 4 years the Export-Import Bank has provided authorization for more than $4 billion in support for U.S. export to sub-Saharan Africa, yet China is still ahead of us. 

The Export-Import Bank provides support to many industries, everything from gas and oil, to space and telecommunications, to agribusiness. 

The Export-Import Bank supports U.S. exports to more than 150 countries, small business. This is what I [Page: S5390]
hear all across our State since 114 small Minnesota businesses have received financing over the past few years. 

The big businesses tend to have trade exports, right? They have exports they want to go to Uruguay or Kazakhstan or somewhere in the world. They can have some special person who knows the language and who can help them and hire a consultant in the country. How can a small business do that? Yet they know their product is going to sell in these other countries. 

That is where the Export-Import Bank comes in, because working with our foreign commercial service, they are able to get the tools they need, small businesses, to compete at the same level as big businesses. 

In August I visited Balzer, an agricultural equipment manufacturer based in Mountain Lake, MN, a town of about 2,000 people. Balzer currently employs 74 people in Mountain Lake, 74 people out of 2,000. It has made a real difference, the Export-Import Bank, for their company. Exports are approximately 15 percent of their sales. 

Or how about Superior Industries in Morris. There are 5,000 people in that town and 500 people employed at the company. They are now exporting, thanks to the Ex-Im Bank, to Canada, Australia, Russia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Brazil. 

How would they would get into Uruguay? Do we think their small community bank--which we love--is going to be able to help them figure out Uruguay financing? No. 

That is why we have the Ex-Im Bank. It helps these small businesses to make major decisions, to finance major products and major deals, so they can actually have jobs in the United States that are providing exports to these other countries. 

That is what this is all about. It is critical. We have to reauthorize this proven Ex-Im Bank and make sure our exporters are competing on a level playing field in a global market. 

I yield the floor.