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American Shipper

Senate votes to give Ex-Im Bank new life

The future of the Export-Import Bank is still in doubt because it depends on passage of a long-term transportation bill that is expected to pass the Senate, but which faces strong opposition in the House.

   The Senate approved legislation Monday to reopen the Export-Import Bank, which was defunded last month when its authorization expired.
   Senate leaders plan to attach the Ex-Im Bank legislation to a six-year surface transportation bill championed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that includes about $47 billion in budget offsets to supplement the Highway Trust Fund over three years. The current extension of highway and transit programs, along with funding, expires on July 31 and the Highway Trust Fund doesn’t have enough money from user fees to cover payments to states for completed construction projects.
   But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the House, which recently passed a five-month extension of transportation programs, will not consider the Senate plan, according to a report from the Associated Press. If a consensus on transport funding cannot be reached by Friday, states will have to cut back on road work.
   The Ex-Im Bank is also unpopular with many conservatives in the House, who believe the bank’s export financing and insurance mostly helps large corporations that don’t need government help. Many small businesses dispute that view, saying the low-cost financing is critical for securing overseas customers.