Ex-Im Bank’s future among matters awaiting Congress after recess

USA Today (7/6, Davis), reports that Congress is set to reconvene Tuesday for a “four-week legislative sprint” before lawmakers’ August break, with a debate and vote on reauthorizing the charter of the US Export-Import Bank among its likely agenda items. The newspaper notes that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has passed a six-year highway funding bill that’s “expected to become a vehicle for an ongoing fight” over the Bank’s reauthorization. Ex-Im supporters “are expected to attach an amendment retroactively reauthorizing” the lending institution before sending it to the House, “where opponents will try to strip it out of the bill,” USA Today says. It notes that, before the Independence Day holiday break, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had said that “as soon as we get back,” Republican leaders of the House and the Senate should “put this on the floor and I am confident it would pass both.”

The AP (7/6, Werner) reports says briefly that “legislative maneuvering over the highway bill” could “create an opening” to renew the Ex-Im Bank’s charter, which expired June 30 “due to congressional inaction,” marking what the story calls “a defeat for business and a victory for conservative activists,” for whom the Bank’s demise became “an anti-government cause celebre.”

Michigan Official: Ex-Im Merits Support, Now More Than Ever. In a guest post to The Hill’s (7/5) “Congress Blog,” Joann Crary, president of Saginaw Future Inc. and this year’s chairman of the International Economic Development Council, argues that the Ex-Im Bank “still deserves our support.” She says the Bank “has unquestionably equipped small and medium-sized businesses with the means for succeeding in exporting and should be reauthorized before uncertainty and delays can further harm U.S. exporters.”

Midwest Executive: Reauthorization Should Be A Common-Sense Matter. Writing for The Hill (7/2, Bowe) in its “Congress Blog,” Peter Bowe, president of Ellicott Dredges and Ellicott Dredge Enterprises, lamented the effort by “ideologues” in Congress “to eliminate a tiny but significant” federal agency that critics erroneously allege is a vehicle for “corporate welfare.” Bowe added: “Our Wisconsin factory workers, our Kansas City inventors and our Baltimore welders depend on me to beat the global competition selling construction equipment in tough places: the Middle East, former Soviet countries and sub-Saharan Africa. Our competition from Holland, Germany, Canada, China — all come armed with backing” from their own domestic export credit agencies. “Without the Ex-Im bank, I can’t take advantage of opportunities in these growing markets,” the businessman wrote.