NAM continues to lead fight for Ex-Im Bank reauthorization

The Los Angeles Times (7/17, Puzzanghera) reported that a “path to reviving” the US Export-Import Bank has opened in Congress, with the lending agency potentially resuming operations “within weeks.” The Times noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he would let Bank supporters insert a five-year reauthorization of the lender’s charter into a highway funding bill that the Senate is to vote on by July 31. According to the article, sufficient bipartisan support exists that an Ex-Im amendment would withstand a filibuster promised by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). “The longer we wait on Ex-Im reauthorization, the further American manufacturers fall behind the eight ball in the global economy,” NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey was quoted as saying. “We have the recipe to get this reauthorization passed: broad bipartisan support in both chambers and a legislative vehicle to bring Ex-Im to a vote,” she added. “What we need now is for Congress to put politics aside and get to work on this important issue.”

Hochberg Defends Ex-Im’s Post-Expiration Actions. The Hill (7/17, Cirilli) reported that Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg was “pushing back on conservative critics in Congress,” testifying in writing that he’s “following the law” in continuing the Bank’s lending operations despite the June 30 expiration of its charter. Responding to concerns expressed by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Hochberg wrote that Bank officials had been “working very diligently to prepare for a potential lapse in authority to approve new transactions.”

Commentary: Ex-Im Bank Isn’t Only For Big Corporations. In an opinion piece for the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch (7/19), David Melcher, president-CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association and a retired US Army lieutenant general, wrote that among “the biggest myths” repeated by “ideological opponents” of the Ex-Im Bank is that the loan guarantees it provides American exporters are directed solely to large companies. “In fact,” Melcher noted, “90 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions go to small businesses,” with indirect benefits for “literally thousands of medium and small mom-and-pop supplier companies throughout the country.” Lawmakers who are mulling a vote on the Bank’s future “should check in with the owners of the many small companies in their states and districts who owe their livelihoods to robust foreign sales markets and directly or indirectly have benefited” from the institution. “And the members should talk to the workers who are proud of their contributions to high-quality, innovative American products being sold abroad.”