Murphy, Blumenthal call Ex-Im Bank vital to state’s economy

By:  Jeff Gebeau
The Bristol Press

NEW BRITAIN — In the wake of a recent visit by Connecticut’s Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal to B&F Machine Co. on Edgewood Avenue to spotlight what they say is a vital need for Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Murphy has issued a report analyzing the impact of the bank’s absence on the state’s aerospace industry.

The charter of the bank, which was created by President Franklin D, Roosevelt to facilitate foreign customers’ purchase of American products, expired at the end of June after it previously had been extended 16 times. Without a renewed charter, the bank can’t make any new loans or loan guarantees, although existing loans and guarantees remain in force.

“Connecticut’s manufacturing economy is heavily reliant on aerospace,” Murphy said. “If the Ex-Im bank goes away, aerospace will be disproportionately affected.”

Murphy said the state has 27 aviation and aerospace companies that directly rely on financing from the bank. The bank is not only critical to these manufacturers, but also to the many companies that comprise their supply chains. If companies can’t export, it hurts both their business and the business of the firms that make components for their products, jeopardizing jobs at all the companies involved.

“Almost the entirety of Connecticut’s aerospace industry is benefiting from the Ex-Im bank in one way, shape or form,” he said, adding that thousands of jobs are at stake as a result.

B&F Machine Co., which makes parts for aircraft engines, nuclear submarines and nuclear reactors, is one of the supply chain manufacturers that indirectly depends on the bank’s financing, he said.

In a statement cited in the report, Mario Francalangia, B&F general manager, stressed the bank’s importance to the firm.

“The bank is indispensable to those whom we supply, and consequently to B&F Machine, its 210 employees and their families,” he said. “This bank has kept the U.S. manufacturing industry competitive in the global market, while creating countless jobs.”

Murphy also said that between 2007 and 2015, the bank generated more than $1.7 billion in export value for the state’s aerospace sector, almost half of what it generated for all Connecticut industries during that period.

Murphy said the bank has broad bipartisan support but is being obstructed by the “Tea Party wing” of the Republican Party. Some conservative Republicans argue that the bank is a form of corporate welfare that primarily benefits large companies.

The Senate will vote on the bank’s reauthorization today. The House hasn’t scheduled a vote on the measure, Murphy said.