Congressional failure to reauthorize Export-Import bank leads GE to close its Wisconsin engine plant.
General Electric’s Power & Water division (GE) announced it will close its U.S. plant in Wisconsin, leaving behind 350 jobs when the company moves its engine building operations to Canada, according to an Washington Post story. The plant builds engines for energy generation applications.
GE blamed the decision on Congress’ failure to reauthorize the Export-Import bank, which is vital to the company for its role in financing sales of industrial equipment. A company executive explained that without the bank, GE could lose sales to competitors. Republicans in Congress blocked moves to reauthorize the 81-year-old bank’s charter at the end of June.
Waukesha, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee suburb where the plant is located, is hoping that GE will reconsider. A spokesman for workers from the plant, who are represented by the International Association of Machinists, blasted Congress for “killing the bank” and ending a successful program that created jobs and saved taxpayer dollars.
Congressional Republicans argued that the bank only benefits a few large corporations that do not require government aid.
GE is expected to move sometime in the next 20 months, as it develops and builds a new $265 million factory in Canada. The company also pledged to continue lobbying Congress to reconsider its stance on the Export-Import bank.
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