President Obama urges businesses to press Ex-Im Bank reauthorization

The Hill (9/17, Fabian) reports President Obama, during a speech to business leaders in Washington on Wednesday, “urged business leaders to take a lead role” in pressing Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Saying the failure to renew the bank is making US companies less competitive and has cost Americans jobs, he told executives, “I think you have to flood the zone and let them know this is important,” adding it is “mind-boggling this wasn’t reauthorized a year ago.” According to Reuters (9/16), the President expects the Ex-Im to be reauthorized during the upcoming budget talks.

In a separate piece, The Hill (9/17, Carney) “Floor Action” blog reports that Senate Democrats suggested they may attempt to tie the Ex-Im reauthorization to a government spending bill, with Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MI) saying her “colleagues would like to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank in the bills that we must pass to keep the government operating.”

The Roll Call (9/17) reports that House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) “let slip” during a briefing with reporters on Wednesday that he has discussed with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH) the possibility of “putting a bill on the floor to revive the bank’s lapsed charter.” Although Hoyer also noted that Boehner did not say he supported funding the Bank, The Hill(9/17, Lillis) reports Hoyer stated, “I think, in my discussions with the Speaker, that he believes that it ought to pass because I think he believes that it’s costing us jobs and economic opportunities.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (9/16) reports that Hoyer, Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) and House Democratic leaders penned a letter to Boehner on Wednesday expressing concerns that it has been “two months since the Export-Import Bank shut down, cutting off financing assistance to American businesses and putting them at a significant disadvantage with global competitors that have the support of 85 foreign export credit agencies.” The Democrats allege that “small, medium and large businesses across the country are feeling the negative impact of this shutdown, laying off employees, and seeing businesses put on hold.” The article notes that the Senate already voted to reauthorize the Bank and there is enough support in the House to pass legislation; however, the renewal is stuck in a committee headed by a detractor, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), and “Boehner won’t use his power to pressure him.”

Opinion: Loss Of Ex-Im Bank Hurts Small-Medium Businesses As Well. In a column for Forbes (9/16), contributor John Brinkley opines that while GE announces plans to relocate jobs due to the Ex-Im’s closure and lawmakers claim the Bank only benefits big companies, “countless small to medium-sized American companies that export and that say they would suffer if the Ex-Im Bank went away for good.” Brinkley highlights and dismisses the arguments presented by Ex-Im detractors, arguing that the Ex-Im should be reauthorized because it is “self-funded” and even makes money, has such a low default rate that worries about taxpayers footing the bill shouldn’t be a concern, and is similar to the credit agencies offered by over 60 other countries that use it to help finance their exports.

Ex-Im Opponents Standing Ground Following GE’s Jobs Move. Politico (9/15, Guida) reports General Electric’s plans to move 500 jobs overseas over the Ex-Im Bank holdup and Boeing’s announcement it has lost contracts over the issue came “with no relief in sight as a gridlocked Congress is unlikely to reauthorize it anytime soon.” Opponents of the Bank “dismissed the announcements as spin and gave no sign of backing down.”