Re-authorize the Ex-Im Bank

The Export-Import Bank must continue. The Ex-Im Bank helps to create new jobs, expand U.S. exports, and increase tax revenue paid by U.S. firms into the United States Treasury. It even makes a profit for the U.S. Treasury each year.

The strength of my conviction comes from personal experience. My brother, Tom Lugar, an engineering graduate of Purdue University, and I both volunteered for military service and after three years returned to Indianapolis to save our family’s manufacturing business from financial failure. Our firm produced complex machinery for the manufacture of cookies and crackers. It had been founded by our maternal grandfather, Thomas L. Green, in 1893, and upon his death had been bolstered by the management skills of our father, Marvin L. Lugar. Our father passed away while we were on active duty, and interim management had struggled with diminishing success.

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A breakthrough came when we found a good prospect, a Mexican firm, that was prepared to buy a sizeable order of machinery on a conditional sales contract. With the help of Sen. Homer E. Capehart (R) of Indiana, I was afforded an opportunity to visit with officials of the Export-Import Bank in Washington, and we came to agreement that the Ex-Im Bank would underwrite our conditional sales contract with the Mexican firm. It became the first of many such sales as our export opportunities increased throughout Central and South America and finally to the Philippines. Throughout the fulfillment of these contracts, my brother and other members of our firm had initiated extensive foreign marketing travel schedules and made a number of engineering advances to enhance the productivity of our machinery.

Within three years, our employee numbers jumped from approximately 50 to 100, and we had repaid loans and other obligations incurred by the factory during leaner years.

During the Second World War, the famous “E” Award had been presented to factories throughout America that were exemplary in war production. President John F. Kennedy instituted an “E” Award for Export Excellence, and our firm, the Thomas L. Green Company, was the first small business in Central Indiana to be recognized with the new award. Governor Matthew Welsh came to our factory for the presentation, and we constructed a great new flag pole topped by the American flag and the beautiful “E” Award flag just below it, a conspicuous development on the near-west side of Indianapolis.

I relate this personal story of family history because it led to requests for even more vigorous international and domestic diplomacy as my brother and I were asked to give civic leadership speeches throughout the west side of Indianapolis, assume leadership roles in the Rotary Club of Indianapolis, and entertain many foreign guests who came to our factory. Our city began to exemplify a strong trend of additional export achievement and an international outlook that continues to be exemplified currently by business trips abroad led by Gov. Mike Pence (R) and a host of Indiana business leaders.

The Ex-Im Bank should not only be maintained but it should be strengthened. It is easy to speak of job creation, strengthening our American economy, maintaining manufacturing jobs in the United States, and the boosting of tax revenue paid by American firms and the expanding number of persons they employ without having proven and readily available answers. The Ex-Im Bank produces remarkable ongoing answers for “all of the above” and is vital to the strength of our country.

Lugar served Indiana in the U.S. Senate from 1977 to 2013. He is the president of The Lugar Center, which promotes food and energy security, the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction and effective bipartisan governance.