Ex-Im Debate Moves To Forefront

 - June 3, 2015, 10:44 AM

Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) chairman and president Fred Hochberg is taking his case for reauthorization to Capitol Hill this week as the bank continues to face an uncertain future. The bank’s authorization is set to expire at the end of this month, but a number of Republican lawmakers remain either staunchly opposed to reauthorization or are seeking greater controls.

Hochberg appeared today before the House Financial Services Committee and is scheduled to testify before the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow. “Ex-Im fills the gaps when the private sector is unable or unwilling to provide financing for U.S. exports,” he testified in the House, adding, “the Bank seeks to ensure a level playing field for U.S. exports.” He also noted that the bank has contributed $7 billion to the U.S. Treasury over the past two decades.

House Republican lawmakers reiterated their opposition to renewal today. Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who supports shutting down the bank, questioned whether the bank provides competitive advantages to foreign airlines and other companies. Senate Banking chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said yesterday his committee would assess the future action after Hochberg testifies. “In determining whether reauthorization is justified, Congress must take another hard look at Ex-Im. It must assess the true costs of the bank on American labor, industries and taxpayers, not only the benefits to a select few companies,” he said.

GAMA and AIA are strongly pushing for reauthorization, while some airlines, including Delta, have sought controls on lending to foreign airline competitors.