Ex-Im Stripped from Short-Term Highway BillJuly 29, 2015
On Tuesday, July 28, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced he would clear the way for a Senate vote on the House’s three-month extension of the highway funding bill, despite the Senate’s efforts to pass a long-term funding bill. Unfortunately, the House bill will not include even a short-term extension for the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank).
Meanwhile, the Senate is poised to continue working on its long-term highway funding bill with a vote possible on Thursday. That legislation, H.R. 22, includes an amendment which would reinstate and extend Ex-Im Bank’s charter through Sept. 30, 2019 and raise the percentage of the agency’s operations that must go toward supporting small businesses from 20 to 25 percent. The amendment, introduced by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), was approved by the Senate 64-29.
On the House side, the House Rules Committee yesterday narrowly rejected an amendment to attach reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank to the short-term highway funding bill. The Committee did approve a rule for consideration of the overall patch which could be voted on as soon as today. Sen. McConnell has said he’ll bring up the short-term highway bill if the House passes it.
Ex-Im’s charter expired on June 30, and with its authority lapsing for the first time in the Bank’s 81-year history, Ex-Im can no longer process new applications. It is, however continuing to oversee existing financing, but it is unclear how much longer the bank can continue its current level of operations absent a renewal of its charter. Ex-Im helps to create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to the American taxpayers—providing a variety of financial mechanisms, including working capital financing, export-credit insurance and financial guarantees to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.
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