The Cable

Export-Import Bank Set for Nine-Month Extension

House lawmakers passed a short reprieve for the U.S. trade bank that finances export deals for American companies. The Export-Import, or Ex-Im, Bank charter was set to expire Sept. 30, but House lawmakers added a nine-month extension to a must-do spending bill Wednesday. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday. It has ...

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

House lawmakers passed a short reprieve for the U.S. trade bank that finances export deals for American companies.

The Export-Import, or Ex-Im, Bank charter was set to expire Sept. 30, but House lawmakers added a nine-month extension to a must-do spending bill Wednesday. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday. It has to be passed by the end of the month to avert a government shutdown.

House Republicans targeted the bank this year, arguing it was a waste of taxpayer money, amounting to "corporate welfare." House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and others argue that the bank picks winners and losers and that businesses will do just fine without government help, even though most developed countries have similar agencies, known as export credit agencies.

Now, House Republicans have agreed to push the fight into next year, after mid-term elections in November. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said last week that an extension for the agency could be slotted into the spending bill.

But the bank has defenders, both behemoths like Boeing and small companies that benefit from the agency’s loans and credit guarantees. They argue that the bank’s support makes it easier for them to sell products overseas. The bank was created to help rebuild industry and spur job growth during the Great Depression; its charter has since been renewed 16 times. The agency authorized $27.3 billion worth of loans that enabled $37.4 billion in exports and supported 250,000 U.S. jobs in 2013, according to the Ex-Im bank.

Business owners have been flocking to Washington all summer in a full-court press to convince Congress to throw the bank a lifeline. And they’re not giving up – supporters are now trying to make it a campaign issue. Americans for the ExIm Bank registered a super PAC, a political action committee, with the Federal Election Commission last week.

John Hudson contributed to this article.

 Twitter: @jtrindle

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