Pelosi Floor Remarks in Support of Highway and Transportation Funding Bill
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding and thank her for her tremendous leadership on this issue. I join her, Mr. Heck of Washington, our Whip, Mr. Hoyer, Congresswoman Moore of Wisconsin and so many others on the Republican side of the aisle who have been strong leaders on re-authorization of the Ex-Im Bank.
“Some concerns have been raised here which I think are in need of response. In terms of this amendment, I rise in opposition to this and state that the bank's portfolio is well collateralized especially in the largest product sector and it maintains a loss rate of less than one quarter of one percent. The bank is also self-funded, largely through user fees collected from foreign customers and has generated surplus close to seven billion dollars – money that has been sent to the U.S. Treasury to help reduce the deficit.
“The previous speaker, Mr. Mulvaney, talked about some incidents of fraud, which he said were associated with the bank. I think it is important for our colleagues to know and those who are listening to this debate that those incidents of fraud were incidents of fraud exacted upon the bank not by the bank. And so, the charge that this is a fraud within the bank is similarly not true. These were people who tried to defraud the bank. Now, there was one fraud which the staff of the bank called out one incident. So, I just don’t want everyone to be misled into thinking that, however it was characterized, that it is a fact. And that's why we have an [Inspector General].
“And that’s why it’s so good in this bill, in terms of fraud, it creates a non-partisan chief ethics officer and requires the GAO review at least once every four years of the bank’s fraud controls. Legitimate concerns raised, but the fact is the bank should not be associated with fraud that is being exacted against it as if it was committing fraud. This is not so.
“But it is a good evening because we are debating an issue that has strong bipartisan support; that creates jobs; that reduces the deficit; that increases our competitiveness overseas; that enables U.S. companies to have markets for our products overseas – not only big businesses that are addressed in this amendment. That’s important as well. But for small businesses, small and moderate-sized businesses that would not have the internal resources to find markets abroad, the Ex-Im Bank is created for that purpose.
“So, I thank all who are – Mr. Dent and others – who have been so much a part of bringing this legislation to the floor. And I think it is a victory for the American people that we have a bill that not only is good for our highways and in terms of transportation but also re-authorizes the Ex-Im Bank in order to agree with the language in the Senate bill.
“And so all these amendments, however well-intentioned or well thought out, have the additional burden of taking down the bank. Maybe saving it for another day. But in the here and now, we do not need any amendments on the Ex-Im Bank in the transportation bill, just because the Ex-Im Bank is authorized in the transportation bill in the Senate. This House very thoughtfully passed our own authorization. I would hope that the Senate would agree to our language, unamended.
“So with that, I commend all of you who make this evening possible and look forward to a celebration of passing the highway bill that does not take down the Ex-Im Bank. I yield back the balance of my time.”