Earlier this year, the charter for the Export Import Bank of the United States expired. American companies—including most notably Boeing, but also small businesses with export sales—use Ex-Im guarantees to reduce the cost of selling their goods internationally. Since July 1, Ex-Im has been winding down: administering existing guarantees but unable to provide new guarantees.
Support for Ex-Im typically splits along party lines: Democrats argue that the agency supports small and medium-sized businesses, creating job growth and opening international markets to companies that couldn’t otherwise afford the credit risks. Conservative Republicans are skeptical of the job growth claims, pointing out that more than eighty percent of Ex-Im guarantees go to three large companies: Boeing, Caterpillar, and General Electric.
After Ex-Im’s charter expired, some believed that the bank’s only chance at survival would come from a revised charter—one that mitigated claims of “corporate welfare” by focusing on smaller businesses.
But this week, Ex-Im’s fortunes improved, as the House voted 313 to 118 to reauthorize the bank. The New York Times casts the vote as “a victory for an alliance of business and organized labor.” The reauthorization bill will now go to the Senate, where it faces opposition from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.