Right Wing Fails to Kill Export-Import Bank

Despite an aggressive misinformation campaign by anti-government zealots at the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, legislation to reauthorize U.S. Export-Import Bank appears headed for passage in the normally fractious U.S. House of Representatives.

The bank, also known as the Ex-Im Bank, provides loan guarantees for foreign companies to buy American-made products, including commercial aircraft, heavy equipment and electronics. Established more than 75 years ago by President Franklin Roosevelt, the bank is widely recognized for leveling the playing field with other nations, whose governments provide similar loan guarantees and financing. Among the nations currently outpacing the U.S. in providing export loan guarantees are China, Germany, Brazil and France.

The bullying campaign by conservatives to block the bank’s reauthorization included threats by Grover Norquist’s Club for Growth that it would track and score all votes on the issue and hold any lawmaker “accountable” for a vote to reauthorize the Bank. According to the Club for Growth, the Ex-Im Bank should be dissolved and so-called “free markets” should set terms for any export-related transactions.

“Given other countries’ export financing, dismantling our Export-Import Bank would be like unilateral disarmament,” said Democratic Sens. Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Mark Warner (D-VA), who excoriated those who would allow political opportunism to hold crucial policy for ransom. “Washington needs to put an end to its obsession with brinksmanship and find common ground in the interest of the American people.”

A vote in the House of Representatives on legislation to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank could come as soon as this week.