Reauthorize the EXIM Bank

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) is an independent, self-sustaining agency with an 80-year record of supporting U.S. jobs by financing the export of American goods and services. With nearly 60 other export credit agencies around the world trying to win jobs for their own countries, EXIM Bank helps level the playing field for American businesses. “Made in USA” is still the best brand in the world, and EXIM Bank ensures that U.S. companies never lose out on a sale because of attractive financing from foreign governments.

The Export-Import Bank was started by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 as a New Deal program to boost exports. Despite the name, Ex-Im doesn’t offer import assistance in the U.S. It provides loan guarantees, loans and insurance to help foreign companies buy U.S. goods when private banks can’t or won’t make loans in industries including aerospace, energy and manufacturing.

When private sector lenders are unable or unwilling to provide financing, EXIM fills in the gap for American businesses by equipping them with the financing tools necessary to compete for global sales. In doing so, the Bank levels the playing field for U.S. goods and services going up against foreign competition in overseas markets, so that American companies can create more good-paying American jobs.

Export-Import Bank’s charter expired on June 30th, the agency has been unable to make or guarantee new loans to exporters since then. The bank has been in limbo because members of Congress have been unable to agree about whether the bank is needed. Conservative lawmakers and groups say most exports are made without government help and that large Fortune 500 companies are the primary beneficiaries of the bank.

Over the past few years, many conservatives have seized on the Ex-Im Bank as a glaring example of crony capitalism, and they will oppose its reauthorization when it comes up in June. They say the bank, which aids exporters by guaranteeing loans for foreign buyers of U.S. products, mainly aids giants like Boing, GE, and Caterpillar. Supporters, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, say many small businesses get help in exporting through the bank.

Earlier this year, Congress allowed the Export-Import Bank’s charter to expire and has not yet acted to reauthorize it. While Congress let the Export-Import Bank’s lending authority expire after June 30, 127 Republicans and 186 Democrats voted to bring the controversial agency back to life.

If the U.S. Senate agrees, the bill would revive the bank’s lending authority through Sept. 30, 2019, with new measures to protect against losses. Though it’s not known how a vote on Ex-Im’s future in the Senate would play out, 65 senators supported reauthorization in a test vote this summer.