NAM, business groups “Unleash K Street Blitz” to reauthorize Export-Import Bank

The Hill (7/30, Wilson) reported that the NAM and over “100 companies, industry groups and nonprofit organizations” are “mobilizing an army of lobbyists” to push Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which had its charter expire in June. Bank supporters said “they are undeterred” by the inaction by lawmakers before Congress’ summer break as they seek to have the credit agency reauthorized so it may “provide financing for companies looking to do business in foreign markets.”

The Morning Consult (7/31) reports although Senators who support the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank’s charter are hopeful, they “expressed frustration with the House of Representatives for its lack of renewal.” Meanwhile, the NAM and other business groups “have launched a public relations blitz” to renew the bank’s charter. The NAM commented on the Ex-Im situation following a highway bill approval without the Bank’s inclusion, saying, “Congressional inaction on both is gambling jobs in the United States, ceding our mantle of economic leadership to foreign competitors and hurting small businesses and manufacturers.”

Business Groups “Fume” At Congress’ Inaction On Ex-Im Charter. In a piece that includes comments from a number of businesses in that US, Politico (7/30, Guida) reports that the nation’s businesses are being forced “to ponder potentially wrenching changes” as Congress looks to head to vacation without reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank. At best, the article notes, “lawmakers won’t be able to act on Ex-Im until September at the earliest,” although it could even be later. NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey noted in an interview that “some U.S. companies are continuing to compete for overseas bids that will ultimately require Ex-Im backing,” hoping lawmakers will reauthorize the Bank “before the deals fall through,” Politico noted.

Ex-Im Supporters Worry About Fate Of Bank. The Hill (7/30, Cirilli) reported Export-Import Bank supporters are “worried about” the Bank’s future after Congress failed to renew its charter because of conservative opposition. The article noted that the NAM and other business groups are “lobbying to revive the bank, arguing that its international financing helps to sustain thousands of U.S. jobs.” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons called for lawmakers to allow a path for the Bank’s reauthorization, saying, “It’s time to allow a bipartisan majority of Congress to reauthorize a tool that we need to enhance America’s free enterprise system against aggressive foreign competitors and level the playing field for manufacturers to win business for more U.S. jobs.”

According to the Business Journals (7/30, Hoover), the Bank’s fate “may depend on how much flak members of Congress get from businesses.” The Journal notes that Dempsey stated that US companies “are in disbelief, they’re frustrated, and they’re going to make it very clear what they expect members of Congress to do.” However, Dempsey added that the Bank’s supporters will look to “every potential vehicle” in order to get the Bank’s charter renewed, saying, “We will leave no stone unturned.”

As Ex-Im Bank Languishes, Boeing Considers Moving Part Of Its Operations Overseas. The Washington Post(7/31, Ho) reports Boeing may plan to “move parts of its operations to other countries in light of the uncertainty over the Export-Import Bank” after the Bank’s charter expired in June. Boeing’s Chairman James McNerney Jr. stated, “We would’ve never considered that before this craziness on Ex-Im,” adding that the services from the Bank have “kept our jobs and our technology” in the US while the company’s competitors “set up shop in lots of different countries.” The piece notes the Bank’s supporters, including the NAM, say the Bank “plays a critical role in helping U.S. businesses abroad.”

According to Reuters (7/30, Lawder), General Electric Co. is also considering partnering with foreign nations to get funding for deals that would typically require support from the Ex-Im Bank, due to Congress’ latest inaction before summer vacation, meaning the company would be sending manufacturing work abroad.

Gann: Inaction On Ex-Im Hurts US Workers, Lawmakers Should Reauthorize Bank Quickly. In an op-ed for the Wichita (KS) Business Journal (7/31, Subscription Publication), Spirit AeroSystems Inc. VP Debbie Gann chides Congress for leaving “for vacation without even voting” on a measure to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, noting that “Washington’s inaction impacts our company and our employees” because companies like Boeing that use the Bank’s financing help bring “work for our 11,000 Kansas employees as well as thousands in our supply base.” According to Gann, Congress is “picking winners and losers” by failing to renew the Bank’s charter, but “Unfortunately, Congress has decided to choose foreign producers as the winners and U.S. workers as the losers.” However, Gann notes the Bank enjoys majority support in both the Senate and the House and urges Kansas lawmakers “to stand up for American workers and vote to reauthorize the EX-IM Bank quickly.”