Export-Import Bank Nears Reauthorization – UPDATED

Export-Import Bank Nears Reauthorization – UPDATED

The House and Senate today passed the Surface Transportation Act, which includes a provision that would reopen the Export-Import Bank. The Bank has not been able to issue new loans to foreign customers who want to buy U.S. exports, like communications satellites, since its authorization expired at the end of June.

The Aerospace Industries Association and Satellite Industry Association are among the Bank’s strongest supporters.  Created in 1934, the Bank needs to be periodically reauthorized, a step
taken with little notice until recently.  The Bank helps provide
financing for U.S. exports.  Some conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats oppose the Bank on
the grounds that it is a government subsidy — corporate welfare for a
few big companies like Boeing and General Electric — while others hail
the Bank as an important jobs creator by facilitating U.S. exports.

After months of fractious debate, Republican Steve Fincher (R-TN) defied House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and obtained sufficient signatures on a discharge petition — a rarely used parliamentary procedure to move legislation out of committee so the entire House can consider the issue against the wishes of a committee — to bring the matter to a vote in the House.  A bill dedicated to reauthorizing the Bank passed 313-118.

The issue ended up as a section of an unrelated bill to fund highways, railroads and other surface transportation infrastructure.  The House and Senate reached agreement on that bill, H.R. 22, earlier this week.  Some Senators sought to add a requirement that the Bank consider whether a loan applicant
opposes new European Union labeling requirements for goods made in what
the EU considers to be Israeli-occupied territories like the West Bank, but in the end, the Senate did not include that language.  What is in the final bill is the same as what the House passed, which in turn is the same as what the Senate passed in June.

The Senate passed the bill this evening,  just hours after it cleared the House.  It now goes to the President for signature. 

Note:  This article was updated Thursday evening to reflect the Senate action.

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