The House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution (H.J.Res. 124) September 17 that would keep the Export-Import Bank on life support through June 30, 2015. It’s the kind of tepid action which pleases no one on either side of this contentious issue.
The House move on the Ex-Im Bank, which provides financing to businesses for export deals, was part of a larger spending measure designed to keep the federal government operating until December 11.
While welcoming the temporary rescue, Linda Dempsey, vice president for International Economic Affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers, said in a letter to members of Congress that their job was “far from over.”
“Manufacturers of all sizes require a long-term, multi-year reauthorization to help grow sales overseas and jobs here at home,” NAM’s Dempsey wrote. “Manufacturers and our customers overseas operate based on long-term plans. Many of the foreign projects in which Ex-Im enables our manufacturers to participate are multi-year projects. Until a long-term reauthorization is enacted, foreign customers will continue to question the reliability of U.S. exporters.”
Aerospace giant Boeing, the largest exporter in the U.S., complained that the continuing resolution “left thousands of small, medium and large U.S. exporters and their workers in limbo until the middle of next year and this will likely negatively impact U.S. sales to foreign customers.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., warned in a letter to House Democrats that the extension of the Ex-Im authorization was a strategy by Republicans to put off the issue until after the November elections, The Hill reported September 15. If Republicans gained control of the Senate, Hoyer surmised, they could then kill the bank in the new year.
Heritage Action, a conservative lobbying group, urged the Senate to vote against the continuing resolution today. The group reiterated its arguments that the bank’s activities could be handled by the private sector and that it does little to support small businesses.
“Despite his current affinity for the Ex-Im Bank, President Obama once denounced the bank, saying it ‘has become little more than a fund for corporate welfare,’ Heritage Action stated. “That characterization is undeniable — participating banks call it “free money” and multinational conglomerates like Boeing, Caterpillar and General Electric account for the bulk of the bank’s financing. Boeing, for example, received roughly two-thirds of the bank’s loan guarantees in 2013.”