Manufacturers fight to reauthorize Ex-Im; hearing witness says Ex-Im uncertainty forced furloughs an
Politico Pro (6/25, Bradner, Subscription Publication) reports the US Export-Import Bank is “sweating whether it can overcome House Republicans’ growing opposition” to renewing the Bank’s charter as it prepares for a June 25 hearing with the House Financial Services Committee. In an effort to push back against the growing opposition, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons told reporters his group has hired a “dream team” of lobbyists consisting of former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO), former Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) and former George W. Bush spokesman Tony Fratto. Manufacturer Steve Wilburn of FirmGreen, Inc. is interviewed in the article, and says that he has had to fulough employees and already lost business to international competitors as a resul of the uncertainty over Ex-Im’s future.
Reuters (6/25, Cornwell, Lawder) reports that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) refused to state his support for the Bank. Business groups like the NAM are using their lobbying powers to try and convince lawmakers to allow a vote, especially since the Bank’s reauthorization passed by a considerable margin in 2012. “If this gets to the floor, I am very confident that it will get through the Congress,” said Timmons.
The National Journal (6/25, House, Subscription Publication) reports that GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) has also avoided committing to keeping the Ex-Im Bank running. She hedged the Bank during an interview with the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, which asked her about the issue, and she has subsequently drawn criticism from businesses in her state. The Spokane paper also notes that the NAM is “among the groups telling members of Congress that if the bank is scrapped,” the US will “be at a terrible disadvantage” compared to other countries.
Bloomberg News (6/25, Wingfield, Hopkins) reports that for months, business groups have been rallying members of Congress in support of the Ex-Im Bank’s reauthorization, and they are now mounting a “massive” lobbying campaign. “Our efforts are really going to be a full court press,” Timmons said.
New York Times Scolds Tea Party For Ex-Im Bank Stance. In an editorial, the New York Times (6/25, Subscription Publication) criticizes the Tea Party, whose members “have decided that the United States must shut down the Export-Import Bank of the United States,” calling it “one of their odder quests.” The editorial notes that the Heritage Foundation and Delta Air Lines are two of the major groups supporting the closure of the Bank over concerns that it constitutes corporate welfare, but the Times says that the Bank “is actually a very poor symbol of corporate welfare.” The editorial claims that the Bank has earned over $1 billion for the Treasury in the past year, with a rate of default under one percent. The Times argues that the Tea Party is not interested in a “truly serious crackdown on corporate welfare,” such as going after changes to the tax code or fighting the farm lobby.
Houston Chronicle Blasts Opposition To Ex-Im Bank. A Houston Chronicle (6/25) editorial decries the opposition to the renewal of the Ex-Im Bank and lambasts Reps. Hensarling and McCarthy for their opposition, saying it is “short-sighted. Ill-advised. Unfortunate. Take your pick; all three adjectives apply.” The Chronicle continues saying that members of Congress, including Houston-area GOP Reps. Ted Poe and John Culberson have insisted the bank is an example of corporate welfare, but “our view of the bank couldn’t be more different.” The paper writes that Ex-Im is an agency that promotes exports to foreign groups looking to buy American goods, “and that’s a good thing.” The Bank’s loans support jobs and costs taxpayers money. However, the “bank’s future is dire largely because its House opponents only have to do what they do best: Nothing.” The article closes with the prediction that getting a reauthorization bill moved out of Hensarling’s committee is “about as likely as a House vote to add the image of President Obama to Mount Rushmore.”