In a rarely used parliamentary procedure, the House of Representatives passed legislation on October 27 to renew the charter for the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank. The 313 votes for the measure showed strong bipartisan support, which the bank had received consistently during its 81-year history.
After measures to renew the Ex-Im charter were blocked at the end of June by a band of legislators who claimed the bank is corporate welfare and a drain on the treasury, Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) led an effort to bypass the House’s committee process and bring the renewal directly to the floor for a vote. Fincher needed a majority of House members to sign a discharge petition, which meant it had to have bipartisan support. Fincher and Ex-Im supporters reached the signature goal earlier in October.
The measure now goes to the Senate where a similar discharge campaign is being conducted.
While the Ex-Im Bank has remained open since its charter expired on June 30, it has not been able to conduct its regular business – backing low-interest loans for the export of U.S.-made goods and products. Approximately 60 countries have similar institutions to promote their goods around the world. Giving the non-renewal of the bank as a reason, several corporations have announced they were closing some of their U.S.-based facilities and moving operations elsewhere, costing thousands of Americans their jobs.
The MTD has been a longstanding supporter of the Ex-Im Bank. Cargo generated by the bank must be transported aboard U.S.-crewed, U.S.-flag vessels.
Throughout the summer, Port Maritime Councils across the country reached out to their local elected officials urging them to renew the institution’s charter. Even President Obama entered the fray in July, calling on Congress to renew the Ex-Im Bank.
Records show the bank last year supported 164,000 American private-sector jobs. Nearly 90 percent of the bank’s transactions went to small businesses. It supported $27.5 billion in U.S. exports at no cost to U.S. taxpayers. In fact, it has helped reduce the national deficit by generating $7 billion for the U.S. Treasury during the last several years.