Poliquin the only member of Maine’s Delegation to Oppose Reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank
By Ramona du Houx
General Electric’s (GE) decision to send 500 U.S. jobs overseas, including 80 jobs in Maine, because of the Republican Congress’ failure to reauthorize the Ex-Im bank hurts Maine's and the entire US economy.
“In a competitive world, we are left with no choice but to invest in non-U.S. manufacturing and move production to countries that support high-tech exporters,” said Tim Rice, GE’s vice chairman, in a statement.
Republican Bruce Poliquin, the only member of Maine’s delegation to actively oppose reauthorization of the Ex-Im bank, joined House Republicans in July to block consideration of a bill to allow the Ex-Im Bank to operate.
“Today’s bad news is a direct result of House Republicans putting politics before American workers,” said MDP Chairman Phil Bartlett. “Bruce Poliquin’s political grandstanding has chased good business overseas and compromised the employment of 80 workers in Maine. His endless attacks on the Ex-Im bank and the Maine jobs it supports has to stop for the good of Maine workers and our economy.”
Congressman Poliquin has promoted his vehement opposition to the Ex-Im bank, posting videos and releases of his attacks against the Ex-Im bank, going as far to say the bank was ‘picking winners and losers.’ Poliquin’s opposition is in contrast to the Maine delegation, his constituents and the Maine workers who support the bank and the $266 million in export sales from Maine, including $51 million to five businesses in the second District.
"How could he possibly say that, 'he didn’t think there were people in Maine who support the Ex-Im Bank?' I know he spent most of his adult life in New York, but at least attempt to know something about the district. How can you claim to be a representative of the 2nd district and not know anything about how one of your biggest employers operates? It can’t just be ignorance. Was being against the EX-IM Bank a condition of the pledge he made to National Republicans in order to get the obscene amount of cash he’s already received? The people of this district deserve answers!” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci, who is running against Emily Cain in a Democratic primary. The winner will go up against Poliquin in next year's election.
“Today, we learned that his actions have put 80 good-paying jobs at General Electric at risk, as well as hundreds of millions in export sales from Maine, including $52 million to five businesses in the second district,” said Emily Cain, who has consistently supported the Ex-Im Bank. “Congressman Poliquin’s actions are shameful because they have devastating consequences for the people he is supposed to fight for. This rejection of the Ex-Im Bank is just another example of Bruce Poliquin being out of step with Maine values and yet again putting his political ideology ahead of the lives and jobs of hardworking Mainers.”
Ex-Im Bank provides millions of exporting value For Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Between 2007 and 2015 the total export value for ME's 2nd CD region was $51,236,816. In Maine, the Ex-Im Bank has supported at least $51 million in total exports between 2007 and 2015. [Export-Import Bank of the United States, accessed 5/28/15]
In Maine small businesses accounted for 100 percent of all EX-IM supported exports worth $5.3 million during FY 2014.
Earlier this summer, the plant manager of the General Electric Power and Water Plant in Bangor called on Bruce Poliquin to ‘quit playing politics with Maine jobs, businesses’ and asked the Congressman to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, because it is is “good for Maine, good for our economy and good for our country.”
“U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin recently said he didn’t think there were people in Maine who support the Ex-Im Bank; if that were the case, he must not be listening very closely because we have 425 employees here at the Bangor facility alone, in addition to the additional 1,700 workers who rely on the Ex-Im Bank for their work in the state of Maine,” said the GE manager.
During the Baldacci administration exports skyroketed because of his policies and businesses grew. Many of them used the Ex-Im bank to help them get their products overseas like Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound, Inc whose exports comprised 55 percent of their total sales in 2013.
This four-generation family business has been growing since it started in 1956 by a husband and wife team. In 1981 they started mail-order shipments of live lobster and it grew to include steamer clams, mussels, lobster meat and crabmeat, Maine scallops and shrimp. This part of the business has grown into a year-round operation including online sales. The company expanded in 2001 with the acquisition of a tidal holding pound and tank room facility. As a wholesaler and retailer, exports now comprise 55 percent of total sales in 2013.” [EX-IM Bank of the United States, accessed 5/28/15]