Allen: International trade at the heart of Virginia’s economy

By George Allen
December 14, 2014
The Richmond Times-Dispatch

A clear message from last month’s elections is that Americans are anxious about the economy. In fact, a look at the Virginia exit polls shows that the economy was the leading issue among half of all voters.

Members of Congress are now deliberating legislation on funding for the rest of the fiscal year — through September 2015 — that has the potential to boost economic growth. As they do, it will be important for them to view investments in international engagement as a way to promote our economic interests around the world and to create jobs at home.

As a longtime champion of Virginia’s economy, I’ve seen firsthand how our economic fate is tied directly to actions and markets around the world.

That is why it is deeply troubling that funding for U.S. international affairs programs, which build a foundation for U.S. businesses to enter these markets, has declined 14 percent in the past four years, though they make up a mere 1 percent of the budget. One especially important program, the Export-Import Bank, has only been reauthorized until June 2015. The Export-Import Bank and Overseas Private Investment Corporation provide some of the best platforms for American entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive selling products or services overseas.

America’s prosperity, and our jobs, are hyper-connected to the ripples and waves of the global market. Many Virginians are well-aware of this connectivity. With the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads being the third-busiest port on the East Coast, Virginia-based companies continue to make substantial sales and profits by exporting around the world. Last year alone, Virginia manufacturers sold more than $18 billion in goods and services, and trade supported more than 1 million jobs in our commonwealth.

Since 95 percent of the world’s population and potential customers live outside of the United States, our access to overseas markets is crucial to the future potential of our economy. The fastest-growing markets around the globe, however, are not our traditional trading partners. Surprisingly to some, it is the developing world where more than half of America’s exports already go.

Consider the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. As the official export credit agency of the United States, the Ex-Im Bank assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets by assuming credit and country risks in order to level the international playing field, especially for small businesses. In Virginia, 96 companies in 59 communities have utilized this self-funded bank, which is used only when private banks are unable to provide the services. If Congress fails to act responsibly with a long-term reauthorization, then employees of Virginia exporters who use the bank — like Optical Cable Corp. of Roanoke, Bristol Compressors and others — may lose future opportunities in overseas markets.

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Discussing important, pressing issues with Faiz Rehman for Voice of America – Cafe DC


Cafe DC: Former U.S. Senator George Allen by urduvoa

The Export-Import Bank is Virginia’s economic growth engine

By George Allen
The Richmond Times-Dispatch
August 17, 2014

With the Port of Virginia in Hampton Roads being the third-busiest port on the East Coast, Virginia plays an integral role in our country’s exporting economy. Our Virginia ports are valuable assets that enable exporters in a variety of industries from across the commonwealth and Mid-Atlantic to ship goods to overseas buyers competing in the global marketplace. Just as our ports facilitate the physical transfer of goods from the United States abroad, the U.S. Export-Import Bank facilitates the financing necessary for domestic and Virginia firms to succeed abroad.

For our commonwealth, the Ex-Im Bank has facilitated nearly $1.4 billion in export sales since 2007, according to publicly available data from the bank; sustaining close to 8,900 jobs and bolstering Virginia’s economic growth. The agency’s positive effects are felt far and wide in our state. However, if Congress fails to reauthorize the bank’s charter by Sept. 30, the employees of Virginia exporters who have used the Bank — like Bristol Compressors International Inc. and Orbital Sciences Corp., as well as their supply chain partners — stand to lose future opportunities in overseas markets.

As a longtime champion of Virginia’s economy, I can attest to the value the Ex-Im Bank provides to our business owners and their capable working men and women. Every day, firms and suppliers — both small and large — across Virginia use the bank’s financing tools to compete and thrive in the global arena and sell their products into some of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

With more than 60 other foreign Ex-Im Banks around the world supporting their own domestic industries, it’s vital that our home-grown companies be able to turn to our Ex-Im Bank when they need financing support. Otherwise, they will find themselves at a disadvantage, competing in a world with one hand tied behind their back.

Exports are crucial to Virginia’s economy and were a vital part of our recovery from the recent recession. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, from 2009 to 2013, manufactured exports in Virginia grew 28 percent. Why would our public servants paralyze a tool that supports exports, competitiveness and jobs?

Virginia’s elected officials have a long history of working in a bipartisan manner to promote jobs and economic growth. Both U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have shown this commitment to Virginia and both co-sponsored much-needed bipartisan legislation that would reauthorize the bank for five years before the charter’s expiration.

As a society, we shouldn’t let political infighting jeopardize the competitiveness of American business and our economic growth. The fact is, every Congress has supported the bank during its 80 year existence and the bank was most recently reauthorized with more than 75 percent of Congressional support in 2012.

The divisive politics surrounding the 2014 election should not be the catalyst to shuttering an agency that has withstood the test of decades of leadership changes and is supporting jobs in our neighborhoods. Indeed, last year after paying its own operating expenses, the Ex-Im Bank returned a $1 billion profit for the U.S. Treasury from fees and interest.

The future of the Export-Import Bank does not deserve to be fought along the lines of political ploys or entrenched into the political gamesmanship that accompanies the campaign seasons.

Running out the clock on the charter of the Ex-Im Bank hurts our businesses and jobs at home, and provides no benefit to the U.S. taxpayers. The stakes are too high and too serious.

If public servants truly care about American jobs and competitiveness, then stop posturing and dawdling: Reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. It’s just common sense.

George Allen served as Virginia’s governor from 1994-98 and in the U.S. Senate from 2001-07. He is co-chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative.

http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/their-opinion/columnists-blogs/guest-columnists/allen-the-export-import-bank-is-virginia-s-economic-growth/article_e149401f-bc3b-5542-bd21-a4163cd681fa.html

Allen: Reagan’s Ex-Im Bank reforms still paying dividends

The lender that reaped $1 billion in 2013 deserves reauthorization
By George Allen
The Washington Times
Friday, May 23, 2014

President Reagan was one of our country’s greatest leaders because he valued fair opportunities for the American people over political manipulations that waste taxpayer money.

The “Great Communicator” listened and connected with Americans and then acted in the best interest of our nation. This is why Reagan and presidents from both parties have shown strong support for the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. The Ex-Im Bank’s charter has been reauthorized every term since its inception in 1934.

However, I won’t claim that the Ex-Im Bank has always been a flawless federal agency. In fact, Reagan was a scrutinizing supporter. From the start, he called for major reforms and instilled discipline and budget transparency. Limits were imposed upon the Ex-Im Bank, and subsidies were significantly cut. Those changes have helped to make the Ex-Im Bank self-sustaining today. The Ex-Im Bank not only does not receive or need taxpayer subsidies, but it also turned a $1 billion profit in 2013.

Working with Congress, Reagan fought for structural changes that eventually made the Ex-Im Bank a stronger and more fiscally sound institution. Years later, he reaffirmed his support for its mission to help American workers and families, small businesses and manufacturers and taxpayers, while growing and strengthening the U.S. economy.

On the Ex-Im Bank’s 50th anniversary in 1984, Reagan signed a letter praising the agency for its accomplishments, declaring the United States the greatest trading nation in the world owing to a combination of talented Americans and a free-enterprise economy. However, he also noted, “We must all work together to encourage a greater competitive spirit on the part of American companies as we seek to meet the challenges of exporting today and in the years ahead.”

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Allen & Lincoln: Let’s Not Harmfully Politicize the Success of U.S. Businesses

By Former Senators George Allen (R-VA) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
The Shopfloor – A Manufacturing Blog
May 5, 2014

In recent months, the reauthorization of the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank—a federal organization with longtime bipartisan support—has somehow found its way into the center of a politically fueled debate on international trade.

At the insistence of a few organizations that should know better, certain Republicans are digging in their heels against reauthorizing this important financial credit facility for small, medium and large U.S. businesses. For companies relying on the Ex-Im Bank, this is a very serious threat as the importance of global trade to advancing industry and job growth in the United States is becoming increasingly essential.

With improving productivity of U.S. industry and 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, exports are more important than ever to American businesses, manufacturers and the overall strength of our nation’s economy, including hundreds of thousands of creative working American men and women. The ability to thrive in the global marketplace is no longer a luxury reserved for only large corporations; it is a vital operating strategy for the dedicated people who work in small and medium-sized businesses.

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Allen: Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank is a no-brainer

By George Allen
The Washington Examiner
April 25, 2014

Today, exports are more important than ever to American businesses, manufacturers, and the overall strength of our nation’s economy. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, many companies can be more successful if they are able to expand and thrive in the global marketplace.

With that in mind, it seems like an easy call to support reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank — one of the hottest topics in Washington right now.

The Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal organization that has historically enjoyed bipartisan support, as it has been highly successful in helping American companies export goods since 1934. In fact, just last year the bank facilitated $37 billion of exports, thereby bolstering about 205,000 U.S. jobs.

However, some Republican members of Congress have expressed hesitation in supporting this proven booster for private-sector U.S. jobs. While it has become easy to make a habit of criticizing policies of the current administration, this is an organization that is to be commended, not condemned. After all, what’s more Republican than an entity that spurs American business and jobs, while helping to reduce the federal deficit at no cost to taxpayers? That’s exactly what the Ex-Im Bank does, and American companies rely on it to survive in hypercompetitive foreign markets in which governments unfairly prop up and heavily subsidize their own nation’s companies.

I believe it’s important to remember that President Ronald Reagan supported the Ex-Im Bank. When Reagan signed the reauthorization in 1986, extending the bank’s charter for six years, he noted that it “sends an important signal to both our exporting community and foreign suppliers that American exporters will continue to be able to compete vigorously for business throughout the world.”

Reagan’s message still rings true today.

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Allen: Remembering the tax-reform lessons that Reagan taught

By George Allen
The Washington Times
February 24, 2014

These days we hear gloomy statements that no significant reforms can be accomplished by a lame-duck president in his sixth year in office with a partisan, divided House and Senate, in an election year.

Fortunately, there are a few goals both sides agree upon: We need to boost our underperforming economy, thereby creating more jobs. One solution should also be crystal clear: It’s time for a complete overhaul of our complicated, costly tax code.

It’s instructive to reflect on the United States’ last major successful tax simplification effort, the Tax Reform Act of 1986. President Reagan was in his sixth year as president, Republicans controlled the Senate and Democrats ruled the House.

It didn’t seem like an ideal time, but leadership in Washington joined together to improve opportunities for Americans by creating a simpler, fairer and more competitive tax code.

The United States experienced strong economic growth and prosperity in part as a result of a lower corporate-tax rate that allowed the nation to become more economically competitive with Western Europe and Japan.

A simplified, fairer code also made it easier for taxpayers and businesses to comply, reducing administrative costs and boosting confidence in the fairness of tax laws envisioned by Reagan.

Through the past 28 years, the U.S. tax system has been made more time consuming, confusing and onerous. The need for new, pro-growth comprehensive tax reform is greater now than in 1986.

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Issues & Audibles: Ed Gillespie for Senate

Today on Issues & Audibles on Andy Parks live from the Washington Times, I was happy to announce Susan and my endorsement of Ed Gillespie to be Virginia’s next United States Senator!

It is past time to unleash American ingenuity, creativity and energy. America is not reaching its full potential because of government impediments and policies that hinder growth. That is why Susan and I are glad that our longtime trusted friend and neighbor Ed Gillespie is running for the U.S. Senate.

Susan and I are confident that Ed will run a courteous, issues-oriented campaign, and as Senator he will work to improve opportunities for Virginians with tax, regulatory and energy policies that foster job growth, encourage innovation and allow hardworking people to keep more of what they earn. We know Ed will earnestly work to make sure every person has an equal opportunity to compete and succeed and help get our country confidently moving in the right direction.

Whether it is a more vibrant economy, personal control of health care, affordable energy, or national defense, Susan and I are certain Ed will vote the best way for Virginia and America. That is why we are endorsing Ed and respectfully ask our fellow Virginians to unite for Ed’s campaign for a better future.

Tune in on Thursday at 11:44 am to 1260-AM in the D.C. area, or at Washington Times Radio, to hear “Issues & Audibles w/ George Allen” on Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times. Click here to hear this week’s edition.

Issues & Audibles – Super Bowl Picks

On “Issues & Audibles” today, Andy and I discussed the great news for Barbara Comstock with State Senator Dick Black dropping out of the 10th District Congressional race to keep his vital seat in the evenly split State Senate. Del. Comstock will now be better able to save money and attract more voters to her unifying campaign. Meanwhile, for a change, the Democrats will have an intense 4-way intra-squad nomination contest.

In the lead by 2 over Ann, with only one more game to go, after going 6-0 over the past 2 weeks, I have 58, Ann has 56 and Andy has 46. For the Super Bowl, Andy and I preliminarily pick the Denver Broncos, and Ann is picking Seattle.

Tune in on Thursday at 11:44 am to 1260-AM in the D.C. area, or at Washington Times Radio, to hear “Issues & Audibles w/ George Allen” on Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times. Click here to hear this week’s edition.

Issues & Audibles – Championship Weekend, 2014 Campaigns in Northern Virginia

On this week’s edition of “Issues & Audibles”, Andy and I discussed the three big Congressional races in Northern Virginia this year. There are some good potential Republican candidates in the tough, open 8th District (Jim Moran announced his retirement this week), and Barbara Comstock is picking up important endorsements in the open 10th. Also, Suzanne Scholte – a strong, recognized, energetic leader for promoting freedom abroad and here – is moving forward to serve the people in the 11th Congressional District.

We also discussed two proposals in the General Assembly: one would legalize real fireworks here in Virginia – which I favor for fun, jobs and revenues; and a nanny bill, which thankfully was defeated, would have made seatbelt enforcement a primary offense. Finally, I don’t think any of Governor McAuliffe’s proposed gun restrictions will get much traction in the General Assembly, but it’s important that we citizens let our elected representatives know what we think about these and other issues.

Heading into Championship Weekend, having gone 4-0 last week, I’m in the lead with 56, Ann is in a close second at 54 and Andy has 48 46. Here are our picks for this weekend’s great conference championship games.

AndyParks Show Week Championship Picks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tune in on Thursday at 11:44 am to 1260-AM in the D.C. area, or at Washington Times Radio, to hear “Issues & Audibles w/ George Allen” on Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times. Click here to hear this week’s edition.