A spending bill passed by the House of Representatives will keep the federal government open until at least December 11, but includes only a nine-month extension of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.
The independent federal agency, which lends money to foreign buyers to purchase American-made products, has come under fire from hardline conservatives who say the bank intrudes on private industry. The Ex-Im Bank operates at no cost to the U.S. taxpayers and returned $2 billion to the U.S. Treasury while helping create or sustain more than 1.2-million American jobs – many of them in manufacturing – over the past five years.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, called the measure a “death knell for an institution that has created jobs, supported small businesses and spurred economic growth for more than 80 years.”
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), has been targeting the bank for closure, holding numerous hearings attacking the agency.
“By isolating the expiration of the bank’s charter from any other must-pass legislation, Chairman Hensarling and his ideological stalwarts are counting on increased partisan gridlock to shutter the institution in July,” Waters continued.
The Senate is expected to vote on the spending bill, which includes the Ex-Im extension, this week.