House Supports Ex-Im Bank With Strong Majority Vote

October 28, 2015

pic-ex-im-exportsLate on Tuesday, Oct. 27, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im). Nearly four months after partisan politics shut down Ex-Im, the House voted overwhelmingly in support of the Ex-Im with 313 lawmakers–representing majorities in both parties–finally getting the opportunity to express their views on the record.

The day prior, on Oct. 26, House supporters of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) succeeded in moving a procedural maneuver to bring the reauthorization of Ex-Im to the floor for consideration, despite the committee of jurisdiction refusing to move on the bill. Ex-Im’s lending authority lapsed at the end of June and small companies across the country were already feeling negative impacts on their ability to compete in the global marketplace.

Led by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), the House voted 246-177 to discharge the Rules Committee from further consideration of a rule (H.Res. 450) that would provide for debate on renewal of the Export-Import Bank. That vote was the first step in a rarely used procedure designed to bring a measure to the floor bypassing the committee of jurisdiction.

On Oct. 27, the House voted on the rule (H.Res. 450) in order to provide one-hour of floor debate on the measure (H.R. 597) that would eventually renew Ex-Im’s lending authority. The House voted 275-154 on this second step in the series of votes required to bring the measure to the floor for further consideration. This rare procedural tactic was used as a way to get around resistance from the Bank’s powerful opponents—House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

After succeeding in these previous procedural votes, the champions were victorious in securing a 313 vote for final passage of H.R. 597, the Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2015, which would reauthorize the Bank for four years and provide much needed certainty for small-business exporters. Demonstrating strong bipartisanship, the measure had 127 Republicans and 186 Democrats voting for it.

The Bank provides critical financing assistance – at no cost to taxpayers – to small, medium, and large-sized U.S. businesses that helps businesses to create jobs in the U.S. and sell their products overseas. With a focus on transparency, accountability, and job growth, H.R. 597’s major reforms include:

  • Strengthening risk management;
  • An increase in loss reserves;
  • Increasing small business lending requirements;
  • Incentivizing an end to government-supported international export subsidies; and
  • Greater anti-corruption safeguards.

NSBA and SBEA have long supported Ex-Im because it works with thousands of small and medium-sized businesses throughout the country; in fact, nearly 90 percent of Ex-Im’s transactions are with small businesses. In FY2014, Ex-Im directly supported 164,000 American jobs at over 3,300 companies – all at no cost to taxpayers. This measure is identical to the Senate’s Kirk-Heitkamp legislation that passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 64-29 as an amendment to the highway bill on July 27, 2015.

Even though the House succeeded in final passage, the move to restore the export credit agency still faces an unsettled fate in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) opposes the reauthorization and has been reluctant to move stand-alone legislation in that chamber, although he has allowed the agency’s renewal to be attached to other must-pass legislation. If the House passes its own long-term highway bill next week, as expected, supporters expect that will serve as the vehicle for a conference bill that could include Ex-Im’s renewal.

Please click here to read the press release from NSBA/SBEA upon final passage in the House.