The Wall Street Journal reports today on efforts to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank. Congress allowed the bank’s chart to expire at the end of June, with foreseeable negative consequences. From the WSJ:
Rep. Stephen Fincher (R., Tenn.) introduced a bill in January to reauthorize the bank until 2019, and last week introduced a slightly different bill with the same text that the Senate approved in July. He initiated Wednesday a process that will allow for a discharge petition on that bill. A spokeswoman for Mr. Fincher said he was confident that “this bill will garner the support it needs to move forward.”
Discharge petitions face long odds.
Successful discharge petitions are rare and much more likely to succeed when they are initiated by members of the majority party. The last time lawmakers mounted a successful discharge petition was in 2002 to force a vote on campaign-finance legislation.
Because they circumvent the committee process controlled by the majority, they are also an embarrassment to the majority leadership. With House Republicans set to elect new leaders in one week, the prospect of a successful discharge petition to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank would be particularly remarkable.
The effort is of critical importance. The bank is particularly important in our state, as AWB has consistently pointed out. Bloomberg News reports,
South Africa’s Comair may have to drop $1.1 billion in Boeing jet deliveries due to begin in October after struggling to line up financing without U.S. government assistance.
The transaction would be the planemaker’s first aircraft order imperiled since the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s charter expired June 30.
Back to the WSJ story:
The prospect of a vote follows several weeks in which businesses have voiced growing complaints over business deals that they have risked losing and where some companies have said they will move production to Canada, Europe or Asia in order to take advantage of export financing in other countries.
General Electric Co. last month said that 500 jobs that would have been created at U.S. factories in four states would instead be moved to Hungary, France and China so that it could secure the export-credit agency support for bids that the company says won’t be considered without it.
The bank’s backers also have rallied support by highlighting the potential for lost sales at small businesses, a group that is both politically sympathetic and close to lawmakers in almost every congressional district.
The costs continue to mount as time passes.