House Passes Export-Import Bank Renewal – Record 93 Republicans Vote Nay

Matt Cover | May 9, 2012 | 5:56pm EDT
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House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Va., left, and House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

( – The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass a bill renewing the congressional charter of the Export-Import Bank by a 330-93 vote. 183 Democrats joined 147 Republicans in renewing the Bank’s charter.

Ninety-three Republicans voted against the measure, forcing the Republican leadership of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-  to rely heavily on Democratic votes to pass the bill.

Some of the Republicans who voted against the bill included House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wisc.) and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.) and Tom Price (Ga.).

The bill was the product of negotiations between Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and will extend the bank’s charter until September of 2014 and expand its portfolio limit by 40 percent to $140 billion.

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)

That increase in lending authority will happen in three tranches. The first $20 billion increase will happen immediately while the second two $10 billion increases will occur in 2013 and 2014 respectively, contingent upon the bank keeping its default rate below 2 percent.

The Export-Import Bank makes subsidized loans, loan guarantees, and sales insurance available to U.S. exporters to help them sell their products in other countries.

The reauthorization bill included numerous reforms to the bank’s business practices, including forcing it to publish quarterly reports on the deals it finances. The bill also forces the bank to seek public comment on deals of $100 million or more before they are made, allowing the public and other stakeholders to see some of the bank’s largest deals.

The bill also limits the bank’s default rate to 2 percent and would institute procedures to change the bank’s lending practices should it exceed that target. The bill would also make the bank take into account whether its deals were hurting American companies, calling for it to conduct studies on whether its deals harm U.S. companies’ ability to compete with foreign competitors.

In opposing the bill, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said, “The Export-Import Bank dragoons American taxpayers into subsidizing loans to foreign companies, making it cheaper for them to buy products from politically favored American companies which, in turn, use those products to compete against less-favored American companies.

“Past beneficiaries include such upstanding enterprises as Solyndra and Enron,” he said.  “Since 2007, almost half of its money has gone to support that plucky little start-up called Boeing.  Air India got $5 billion to purchase Boeing aircraft allowing them to undercut American carriers like Delta with their own tax money.”

“Legitimate companies have plenty of access to private capital and don’t need these subsidies,” said McClintock.  “The illegitimate ones shouldn’t be propped up with the hard-earned dollars of working taxpaying Americans.”

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