Ex-Im (Temporary) Reprise on the Way

The Export-Import Bank of the United States may be getting a long-awaited reauthorization, albeit a short-term one, in the coming days or weeks.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said publicly this week that some of Ex-Im’s key GOP critics appear willing to allow a temporary reauthorization of the Bank, though he gave no indication exactly how long that would last. The extension is most likely to be included in a spending measure aimed at preventing a government shutdown in just over three weeks.

Critical to a reauthorization of any period for Ex-Im is flipping some ardent opponents in the House, like Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). Boehner singled out Hensarling when noting a newfound, yet tepid, support for reauthorization, but only if it is short term. Other Republicans hinted at supporting an extension of the charter through early in 2015. Democrats want a multiyear reauthorization, according to widespread reports, and have criticized the GOP for blocking votes on the matter.

A number of conservatives have argued that it isn't the government's place to offer Ex-Im what in their view amounts to a form of corporate welfare for the nation’s largest companies to do business abroad. Ex-Im supporters have noted that its closure would actually benefit foreign producers overseas and would result in the loss of domestic exports and, thus, manufacturing activity and jobs at home. Ex-Im, through fees it charges those who use the service, typically generates a surplus and has not relied on taxpayer money to cover its activity in more than five years. The last time there were regularly occurring losses of significance at Ex-Im were a couple of stretches in the 1980s and 1990s.

- Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM staff writer

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