The White House directly blamed Republicans on Tuesday for “killing” 500 jobs the conglomerate General Electric says it is shipping overseas because of Congress’ failure to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank.
“There are real-world consequences for congressional inaction,” White House press secretary Joshua Earnest said in a daily press briefing. “Republicans countered decades of bipartisan agreement and bipartisan support for the Export-Import Bank. Their failure to confront this situation in a timely fashion and to allow some of the funding for the Export-Import Bank to lapse has affected business decisions that are going to impact jobs.”
GE announced on Tuesday that it signed an agreement with the French company, Compagnie Française d’Assurance pour le Commerce Extérieur, to move 400 jobs to Europe from New York, Texas, Maine, and South Carolina. Next year, GE plans to move another 100 jobs from a facility outside of Houston to Hungary and China.
The move was made, the company claims, because of Congress’ failure to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
The company says it is bidding on $11 billion worth of projects that it will not take up without the support of a governmental export agency.
“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 exports,” John Rice, vice chairman at GE, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Senate voted 64-29 in July to reauthorize the bank, but House Republican leaders have declined to take up the bill for a vote. Many conservative Republicans have criticized the bank for favoring special interests and politically-connected corporations.
“We hear a lot about Republicans complaining about job killing regulations, the fact is, it sounds like, based on what GE has reported today, that Republicans are killing quite a few jobs on their own,” Earnest said Tuesday.
He declined, however, to criticize GE, saying that “I won’t handicap individual business decisions.”
President Obama appointed the company’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, to his Economic Recovery Advisory Board in 2009. Obama also picked Immelt — who has been touted as the administration’s “Jobs Czar” — to chair an outside panel of economic advisers.