Plan afoot to revive Ex-Im Bank

Washington, October 10

Dozens of Republicans joined Democrats on Friday to force a House vote to revive the US Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, a move that would be a blow to conservatives who let the bank lapse months ago.

The 81 year-old Ex-Im Bank provides favourable financing to US firms seeking to sell their products abroad and protects them against foreign buyer defaults. Large American firms and their subsidiaries and suppliers have used the bank for decades. But many Republicans pushing for a smaller government refused to authorise it and the bank’s charter expired on June 30. Ex-Im supporters said closure cost thousands of American manufacturing jobs.

On Friday, a majority of 218 lawmakers in the 435-seat House of Representatives signed on to a discharge petition, an exceedingly rare procedure to get the reauthorisation legislation onto the floor.

A vote is set for October 26, Democrat Steny Hoyer said.

“We have broken through the wall of obstruction in the Congress again to get the job done in a bipartisan way,” Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic leader, said.

Some 42 Republicans signed the petition.

“This can’t wait any longer. If we don’t get this done for American people, the only thing our country will be exporting is jobs,” said Representative Stephen Fincher.

Last month, General Electric said it was moving about 500 jobs outside the US, most of them to France, blaming the congressional shuttering of Ex-Im for the shift.