The long-term future of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank remains uncertain with the House and Senate at odds over a full reauthorization. The House last week passed a 10-year reauthorization package that drew strong support from the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), which said it will provide long-term certainty for the aerospace sector and support jobs.
But that bill was approved largely along party lines in a 235-184 vote, and the Republican-led Senate has shown little appetite for a longer-term reauthorization. Lawmakers have criticized the House bill for not going far enough in implementing reforms and placing restrictions on sales to China.
The Senate, instead, is continuing to push for short-term extensions, and lawmakers are expected to include such a temporary measure in a stopgap funding bill that will come under consideration this week. Congress in September had provided the bank an extension through November 21 as part of the previous stopgap bill that extended the budgets of most of the government.
This comes just months after the Senate restored full financing capabilities of the bank with the confirmation of three board members, providing the necessary quorum. The lack of a quorum—which had lasted more than four years—had hamstrung the bank’s ability to back loans above $10 million. Meanwhile, Congress in 2015 had allowed the bank’s authorization to lapse for five months as some Republicans viewed it as corporate welfare.
AIA CEO and president Eric Fanning, however, appealed to the Senate to take up the House bill, which he said, “sends a clear message that America is serious about taking the necessary steps to ensure our exporters can compete on a level playing field against [those of] foreign competitors.”