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House Dems, GOP Agree on Export-Import Bank Bill

House Democrats and Republicans have reached an agreement to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank through 2014. Its charter is due to expire May 31. The bank provides loan guarantees to corporations exporting goods and services to foreign countries.

The AFL-CIO, Machinists (IAM) Air Line Pilots (ALPA) and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) are among the unions supporting the agreement, which also is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Earlier, some House Republicans backed by extreme conservative business groups—including the Club for Growth—pushed to cut the funding available to the Export-Import Bank, which would have put American exporters at a competitive disadvantage, as many of their counterparts are able to access such subsidized loans and guarantees through their own government’s agencies.

In 2011, financing from the Export-Import Bank helped 3,600 private companies support thousands of jobs across the country. Without the renewal, says AFL-CIO Deputy Chief of Staff Thea Lee, some companies could lose out on export opportunities, costing good jobs in both manufacturing and services.

House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) says the agreement “will contribute to our economic recovery and lead to the hiring of more workers for middle-class jobs here at home.”

The U.S. aerospace industry is a major beneficiary of the bank’s mission and the agreement will require the Export-Import Bank to look more closely at the employment impact of its loans. Without its renewal, says Lee, the industry, which currently maintains a positive trade balance with the rest of the world, would be at a severe disadvantage. European and Chinese competitors would take advantage of this situation to benefit their own aerospace industries at the expense of U.S. manufacturers.

Hoyer says reauthorizing the agency is an important component of Make It In America, the House Democrats’ road map for:

creating jobs and boosting our economic competitiveness, which does so by investing in a strong manufacturing sector that builds and exports products around the world.    

Last year, Lee told a House committee:

The ultimate goal of the Export-Import Bank is not just to make loans, but to support U.S. jobs through increased exports.

A vote on the House bill is expected Wednesday but it will be under suspension of the rules, a procedure that requires a two-thirds vote.

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