The House Tuesday approved the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, with a majority of Republicans joining almost all Democrats to demonstrate a broad bipartisan coalition to revive the export-finance agency.
As reported in last week's episode of On The Record, the coalition built support over the last several weeks.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the reauthorization:
"Passage had already been assured after Republicans had joined most Democrats on Monday in calling up a so-called discharge petition, a rarely effective procedural tool that allows a majority of lawmakers to dislodge legislation that has been held back by party leaders.
"But Tuesday’s vote showed that an aggressive campaign by conservative critics to close the bank had done little over the last three years to turn GOP lawmakers away from supporting the bank. The vote marked a big victory for business groups that had fought to secure its revival.
"The bank was unable to process new business this summer after its charter expired. GOP leaders bottled up legislation that would have reauthorized the agency’s charter with some changes.
"Opponents say the Ex-Im Bank puts taxpayers at risk and allows the government to pick winners and losers. They have strongly criticized a lobbying effort by the bank’s biggest patrons, Boeing Co. and General Electric Co.
"Supporters of the bank say it keeps U.S. firms on a level playing field against foreign competitors that enjoy similar support from their governments. Exporters are already facing stiff headwinds this year from the rising dollar and a slowdown in global trade.
"Congressional GOP leaders have largely opposed the bank, with the exception of outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) who last month pledged to “clean the barn” of unfinished and divisive legislative business before he submits his resignation at week’s end."
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