Senate Approves Ex-Im Compromise

May 15, 2012

On Tuesday, May 15, the U.S. Senate approved compromise language supported by NSBA and its international trade arm, the Small Business Exporters Association (SBEA), which will reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. The compromise, crafted by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), was approved by the House 330-93 just over one week ago following a months-long stalemate over ideological concerns with the Bank.

The Securing American Jobs Through Exports Act of 2011 (H.R. 2072) will authorize Ex-Im Bank for three years during which time its exposure cap will gradually increase starting at $120 billion in 2012 and topping out at $140 billion in 2014, provided certain default requirements are met. The measure also includes increased transparency and reporting on the part of Ex-Im Bank on myriad topics, including the Bank’s small-business services.

NSBA and SBEA have worked tirelessly to ensure Ex-Im Bank continues to offer small- and mid-sized exporters critical financing, and applaud the Senators and Representatives who worked to ensure passage of the compromise language.

The Bank provides much-needed financing and credit insurance to small businesses and has been expanding and improving its small-business programs. For FY 2011, Ex-Im Bank set a record in its support of small business at $6 billion—an increase of more than 20 percent since 2010, and the new compromise language includes specific language to continue enhancing small-business exporting.

For many small exporters like Air Tractor, Ex-Im Bank isn’t just a lender of last resort—it’s the lender of only resort. The ongoing turmoil and instability caused by the political impasse over reauthorizing Ex-Im Bank forced many small exporters to scale-back or even abandon overseas sales—something the slowly rebounding economy cannot afford. This measure, along with those who supported it, is an important stand and will ensure exporting remains a viable business path for many small businesses in the years to come.

Although the Senate had previously approved a more generous bill, there were a few sticking points during the most recent debate, including allowing Republicans to offer a handful of amendments, none of which passed. Ultimately, the bill was supported by both Republicans and Democrats, with just the the most conservative GOP Senators dissenting. Had Congress failed to act, the current extension of Ex-Im Bank’s authorization was set to run out May 31.

President Barack Obama has expressed support for Ex-Im Bank and is expected to sign the bill shortly.

Please click here to view NSBA’s letter of support for the bill.