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Obama calls on Congress to renew Ex-Im Bank

Following a meeting with ten small-business owners and lawmakers, the New York Times (7/23, Calmes, Subscription Publication) reports that President Obama made his case that “Congress should quickly reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.” The Times notes that the small businesses invited to meet with Obama “underscored” the arguments made by the Bank’s supporters, that the Ex-Im’s “beneficiaries are smaller companies” and not just large corporations.

The AP (7/23, Lederman, Werner) says the President “chid[ed] Congress in no uncertain terms,” warning that “American businesses are suffering while the Export-Import Bank lapses.” The President argued that it is “a ‘shame’ that the bank had been allowed to expire,” adding that “the lapse puts the US at a disadvantage because ‘every other advanced country has a program like this’ to promote its exports.” Voice of America (7/23, Randle) reported that the President said that by allowing the charter to expire, Congress “was hurting American exporters.”

TIME (7/23, Rhodan) reported that the President said, “This should be a no-brainer. … The Export-Import Bank makes money for the US government. I just want to be clear about this: This is not a situation in which taxpayers are subsidizing these companies.” Reuters (7/23, Rampton) says he called on Congress to renew the charter before it leaves for its August break.

USA Today (7/23, Jackson) reports that while “some congressional Republicans described the bank as corporate welfare that benefits big corporations at the expense of US taxpayers,” congressional leaders “are working to re-authorize the bank before the August congressional recess.” The President argued that although large companies “do benefit from the bank,” smaller ones do as well, noting that “his guests at the White House included the owner of a business that makes specialized organic coffee and another that makes quiche.”

The Washington Times (7/22, Wolfgang) also reported on Obama’s support for the Ex-Im Bank. “From coast to coast, people are being affected by this. We’ve heard stories from these companies right now that orders are on hold, business is in danger, potentially expansions will stall, fewer employees will be hired if we do not get this done. So we need to get this done,” Obama said. He added, “We can’t have American workers losing jobs because Congress doesn’t act or because of some ideological arguments that don’t make any sense, don’t match up with the facts.”

The Hill (7/23, Laing) noted that despite clear opposition from Republicans, the White House is “pushing” to have the Ex-Im reauthorized through “must-pass transportation funding legislation that is being debated this week.”

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