WASHINGTON — A growing group of Republicans and Democrats in the House are using a rare parliamentary maneuver to revive an 80-year-old federal agency that makes it easier for foreign companies to borrow money to buy U.S.-made products.
So far, at least 40 Republicans are among the House members who have signed a “discharge petition” that would bring the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank to a vote on the House floor. The bank’s authorization expired June 30 after conservative Republicans kept it from receiving a vote in committee.
By 11:45 a.m. Friday, the petition had 138 signatures. The petition effort was started by Republican Rep. Steven Fincher of Tennessee, who told fellow Republicans about his plan during a private meeting Wednesday.
“We’re hopeful there are enough Democrats to get it across the finish line,’’ said Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y. “Nobody is comfortable or happy about doing this, but when you have something that is ideologically bound up, we are left with no choice.’’
There is already enough support in the Senate to revive the bank.
Conservative House Republicans, led by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, have been blocking a vote on the reauthorization. They say taxpayers should not be underwriting risky deals that commercial banks spurn. They argue the bank is rife with “crony capitalism,’’ and the expiration of its authority to make new loans allows the free market to operate more efficiently.
The bank’s supporters, on the other hand, say U.S. manufacturers are competing in a global marketplace where countries such as China, Germany, Japan, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, France and the United Kingdom have their own export credit financing agencies to help their manufacturers to win new contracts.
The U.S. Export-Import Bank competes against 59 other nations that have export finance agencies, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
The bank’s two biggest clients in the United States are aviation giant Boeing and General Electric, which makes jet engines used in commercial aircraft and power-generating turbines, which are another product frequently bought with money from Ex-Im loans.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1LlQ8ZS