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Ex-Im Reauthorization Set to Pass

Following a deal last week between House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the U.S. Export-Import Bank's (Ex-Im's) authority to finance exports is set to be reauthorized.

According to the terms of the agreement, Ex-Im's charter would be renewed for another three years. Its lending cap would also be increased from $100 billion to $140 billion. To get votes from the House's more conservative members, the reauthorization bill also requires the bank to increase the transparency of its business and show that its loans and loan guarantees are necessary due to a lack of financing from the private sector. It also includes a somewhat perfunctory measure for all companies benefiting from the loans to certify that they do not do business with Iran.

Driving the reauthorization efforts were the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Today Rep. Cantor and Rep. Hoyer displayed much-needed leadership to bring both parties together to save the Ex-Im Bank and protect nearly 290,000 jobs," said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons after the agreement was reached. "The bill announced today to reauthorize the Bank and increase its lending cap brings us a step closer to protecting these jobs and will be a vital tool for small manufacturers exporting to new markets."

"We cannot grow jobs and the economy without exports, and Ex-Im has to play a role in that effort," he noted.

Reauthorization of the bank's charter has, in years past, been a routine exercise. This year, however, has been highly political, and some conservative groups, such as the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America are set to include the vote on their congressional scorecards. A vote in favor of reauthorization would count as a strike against the voter's record.

Ex-Im is already close to hitting its lending cap, and its authority to operate is set to expire at the end of the month.

- Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer