The Export-Import Bank in a letter released Tuesday responded to criticisms from Delta Air Lines’ top lobbyist regarding jobs. [READ THE EX-IM BANK LETTER.]
In recent letters
, Delta’s Andrea Fischer Newman, a friend of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), complained that Ex-Im was falsely claiming one of its financing products had supported 400 jobs at Delta TechOps.
The claim appeared to contradict Delta’s wider argument that Export-Import Bank financing for overseas buyers of Boeing jets was unfairly hurting Delta’s competitive position.
Delta has become a top corporate ally of conservative and Tea Party critics of the government bank, which will have to close
down in October unless Congress renews its charter.
In the new letter, Ex-Im Senior Vice President Claudia Slacik cites Paulo Kakinoff, the chief executive of Brazil’s GOL Airlines, as confirming that the Ex-Im deal supported jobs at Delta TechOps.
“We at Ex-Im Bank appreciate Mr. Kakinoff’s confirmation of the critical role that Ex-Im Bank plays on behalf of U.S. exporters such as Delta TechOps. If Ex-Im Bank were to unilaterally withdraw from such a role in any sector of the economy, the U.S. exporters operating in that sector would be placed at a significant competitive disadvantage compared to their foreign competitors,” Slacik wrote.
In its letter to Ex-Im, Delta said no jobs were created by the GOL deal and none would have been ended had the deal not gone through.
The Ex-Im official explains the bank’s methodology for coming up with 400 jobs supported.
“Ex-Im Bank’s jobs estimate is based on the standard, long-standing U.S. government jobs-calculation methodology used by the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee, which is in turn based on employment data computed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics," Slacik said.
“It is intuitively obvious that supporting exports supports jobs across the U.S. economy, and this applies to the Delta TechOps transaction as well as any other,” she added.
Delta said in response to the letter that it continues to dispute the Ex-Im claims.
“Delta disagrees with the Bank’s assertion that Ex-Im financing had any bearing on Delta TechOps’ transactions with GOL. Delta and GOL entered into the contract at issue in 2010, over a year before and without any reliance upon the Bank," said Delta spokesman Trebor Banstette.
He said Delta and the Air Line Pilots Association continue "to advocate for reform of the Bank’s practice of providing guarantees for foreign airlines to purchase widebody aircraft, which are then deployed against U.S. carriers on international routes."
"Those guarantees directly threaten U.S. airline jobs," Banstette said.
— This story was updated at 5:37 p.m.