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Committee Calls for Swift Reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank

A group of senators from the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship have called for the immediate reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im).

The bank's authorization was last extended in December 2011 through the end of May 2012, at its current lending ceiling of $100 billion. Increased demand, however, has led Ex-Im to predict that it will hit its limit by the end of this month. Unless its authorization is renewed and its lending ceiling raised, the bank would be forced to halt all new transactions.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), chair of the Small Business Committee, urged the two to move on a reauthorization proposal as quickly as possible.

"The financing that Ex-Im Bank provides is a critical tool for small businesses to increase foreign sales. Congress must act to help these exporting entrepreneurs increase jobs and profitability here at home," they said. "Over the past 76 years, Ex-Im Bank has diligently followed its mission to enable U.S. companies to turn export opportunities into real sales. These sales, in turn, help maintain and create U.S. jobs which contribute to a strong national economy."

In Fiscal Year 2011, Ex-Im provided a record $32.7 billion in export financing, including an all-time high of $6 billion in export financing to small businesses, in total supporting $40.6 billion in export sales. The agency also still manages to turn a profit, having returned $3.7 billion to the U.S. Treasury since 2005. Most recently, Ex-Im opened a $100 million credit facility for small business exporters.

Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer