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NAM: If Ex-Im Bank closes, businesses will lose

Reuters (5/20, Lawder) cites Russell Stokes, president of GE Transportation, as saying the General Electric unit would lose a pending $350 million agreement to manufacture 100 diesel-electric locomotives for Angola, and potentially more in future exports, if Congress fails to reauthorize the charter of the US Export-Import Bank by June 30. The deal, if finalized, would have GE Transportation build the locomotives in Erie, Pennsylvania. However, without needed Ex-Im financing, as many as 1,800 jobs at GE, its suppliers, and supporting businesses could be at risk, Stokes said. Reuters notes that along with GE and other exporters, congressional renewal of the Bank’s charter is backed by business groups, including the NAM.

Gen. Jones: Ex-Im Bank’s Preservation Crucial To US Competitiveness. In an opinion piece for USA Today (5/20), former Obama administration national security adviser and retired Marine Corps general James L. Jones lists “facts” tied to the debate over Ex-Im Bank reauthorization to bolster his argument that the lender “remains a critical component of America’s competitiveness toolkit” and should be preserved. The Bank, Jones writes, has a “record of strengthening U.S. exports and competitiveness while generating revenue” for the Treasury, which explains “its long history of bipartisan support.” While conceding that “a world without state-funded export credits is one to which we should aspire,” the former NATO commander argues that “unilaterally disarming by closing Ex-Im is not the answer,” as this would “destroy” US “leverage in negotiating reductions to state-backed export finance that would be observed by all — creating the level playing field we should all seek.”

Allen: Perry Goes From Right To Wrong On Ex-Im Bank. In a guest post for The Hill’s (5/19) “Congress Blog,” former senator George Allen writes that a fellow Republican — ex-Texas governor and current presidential candidate Rick Perry — is wrong to call for the Ex-Im Bank’s closure as a remedy for slow US economic growth, federal government debt, and excessive regulation. Allen notes that last June, “then-Gov. Perry wrote the bipartisan leadership of Congress a letter calling for the reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank, extolling its virtues and rightly noting ‘Ex-Im is a vital export finance tool at no cost to the American taxpayer.’” The writer adds that as long as the challenges to business that Perry recently outlined remain, eliminating the Bank “would be tantamount to unilateral economic disarmament” and harm American exporters and the millions of citizens that they and their suppliers employ.

Reid Says Obama “Loves” Ex-Im. The Hill’s (5/19, Carney) “Floor Action” blog reports that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Tuesday “urged the Senate to pass a long-term reauthorization” of the Ex-Im Bank, “arguing it would be an acceptable addition to trade legislation because President Obama ‘loves the bank.’” According to The Hill, Reid suggested that Republican lawmakers are opposed to the Bank mainly to appease “conservative groups that are fighting to kill it.” The Democrat spoke after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who opposes Ex-Im reauthorization, “told reporters that he would allow a vote on extending the charter” of the Bank, “but that it wouldn’t be part of” the TPA, or “fast track,” legislation senators are now debating.

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