House of Representatives Votes to Reauthorize Ex-Im Bank

Yesterday, the U.S House of Representatives took the second step of a complicated process to reauthorize the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.

The 313-118 vote on Tuesday sends the reauthorization legislation to the Senate, where supporters are attempting to craft a plan to bring an Ex-Im bill to President Barack Obama’s desk.

In an article by POLITICO, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wouldn’t take up a standalone bill, although he has allowed the agency’s renewal to be attached to other must-pass legislation.

According to earlier news reports, the effort began on October 26 when 62 Republicans from the House joined with all Democrats in a 246-177 vote to begin the process of what’s known as a discharge petition. The tactic was last successfully used in 2002 to move campaign finance reform legislation.

The vote Monday evening discharges a rule establishing floor debate from the Rules Committee — the first hurdle in a three-step process.

According to The Hill, the House had to approve the rule before turning to the underlying legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank

The California Chamber of Commerce is asking the state’s representatives to support reauthorizing the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which expired on June 30.

In a recent letter to the California congressional delegation, CalChamber explains that failure to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank will seriously disadvantage U.S. companies—small and large—in foreign markets, potentially resulting in the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs. Failure to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank would put at risk the more than 150,000 U.S. jobs at 3,000 companies that depend on Ex-Im to compete in global markets.

Ex-Im has a proven record of success, and turns a profit for the American taxpayer. Since 1990, Ex-Im has refunded $7 billion to the U.S. Treasury above all costs and loss reserves, including $674.7 billion in the 2014 fiscal year alone.

The potential impact of a lack of financing for exports for both small and large businesses will be damaging to the economic recovery of both California and the United States. Over the last five years, Ex-Im assisted 800 businesses from California, the vast majority being small businesses.

In fact, small businesses account for approximately 89% of Ex-Im’s transactions. These small business transaction figures are in addition to the tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses that supply goods and services to large exporters. In the 2014 fiscal year, Ex-Im provided more than $5 billion in financing and insurance for U.S. small businesses.

California is one of the top economies in the world with a gross state product exceeding $2 trillion. In 2014, California exported to approximately 229 foreign markets. Trade offers the opportunity to expand the role of California’s exports.

Action Needed

The CalChamber is strongly urging the California congressional delegation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States as expeditiously as possible. The CalChamber also is asking that businesses send a letter to their senator via our grassroots system.

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Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling

Susanne T. Stirling, vice president, international affairs, has headed CalChamber international activities for more than four decades. She is an appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Export Council, and serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Committee, the California International Relations Foundation, and the Chile-California Council. Originally from Denmark, she studied at the University of Copenhagen and holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Pacific, where she served as a regent from 2012 to 2021. She earned an M.A. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. See full bio.