Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization Update

December 13, 2011

The U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank operates under a renewable charter, which expired on Sept. 30, 2011. Congress was unable to pass a long-term reauthorization at that time, and instead included Ex-Im Bank in the handful of items extended in a Continuing Resolution which will expire Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. Ex-Im Bank’s most recent reauthorization was in 2006, when Congress extended the Bank’s authority through FY2011. It is imperative that the Bank be reauthorized prior to the end of this congressional session.

House and Senate negotiators recently agreed to a compromise to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank for four years and increase its lending authority from $100 billion to $135 billion. However, there are a small handful of lawmakers pushing against this widely-supported compromise and instead support a very short-term—6 month extension—with no increase in the credit levels. This compromise will likely be included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill considered by Congress later this week.

Ex-Im Bank, a self-sustaining federal agency, is the official export credit agency (ECA) of the U.S. It helps finance American exports of manufactured goods and services primarily in circumstances when alternative financing is not available. Failure to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank at appropriate credit levels will disadvantage U.S. businesses in foreign markets, potentially resulting in the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs.

Ex-Im Bank enables U.S. companies — large and small — to turn export opportunities into real sales that help to maintain and create U.S. jobs and contribute to a stronger national economy. For FY 2011, Ex-Im supported an estimated $24 billion in export sales, and 290,000 U.S. jobs at over 3,600 companies. The Bank also set a record in its support of small business at $6 billion—an increase of more than 20 percent since 2010.  Moreover, the Bank is highly profitable, returning substantial sums to the U.S. Treasury each year. Since Ex-Im Bank was last reauthorized, it has returned roughly $3.5 billion to the U.S. Government.

Since its inception, Ex-Im Bank programs have supported more than $400 billion in U.S. exports and has been a huge catalyst for the expansion of small business exports.

NSBA and SBEA have pushed for a four year reauthorization at $135 billion to be included in the year-end wrap up legislation, as it would fully enable the Bank to continue to generate positive revenues for the U.S. Treasury and continue to help expand U.S. exports and increase U.S. jobs.

Please take a few moments today to urge your lawmakers to support a long-term reauthorization for Ex-Im Bank.