Democratic congressional candidate Kathleen Rice released an "American made" jobs plan, including reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which provides financing to small businesses to sell their goods overseas.
Rice, who is running against Republican Bruce Blakeman, the former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature to replace Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) in the 4th District, said the bank has helped eight small businesses in the district expand over the past seven years, supporting $123 million in exports.
Some House Republicans have threatened to vote against renewing the bank's charter, which expires at the end of the year. But party leaders have said they are nearing a deal for a nine-month extension of the bank as part of a bill to keep the federal government operating through mid-December.
"My priority is not to play partisan games, but to do what is best for the people of our district," Rice said at a news conference at Love & Quiches Gourmet in Freeport, which has relied on the bank's credit insurance program for financing.
The bank charges the bakery, which has 250 employees, a fee for insurance in case a foreign customer does not pay for products shipped overseas.
In a statement, Blakeman campaign spokesman Matt Coleman said Blakeman had the better proposal to boost the nation's economy. Blakeman wants to simplify the tax code, repeal Obamacare and cut government regulations.
"Bruce Blakeman has a real proposal to help our neighbors and fix our economy that's been endorsed by leading economists," Coleman said. "The Blakeman plan will grow the private sector by creating good-paying jobs, put the unemployed and underemployed back to work while strengthening our middle-class families."
Coleman said Blakeman does not favor a government shutdown, but declined to say if he supported reauthorizing the bank's charter.
Rice's jobs plan includes tax credits for small businesses to defray hiring costs, more spending for education and workforce training, and creation of a national infrastructure bank to fund needed federal construction projects.