Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Bank That Helps Exporters in U.S. Is Granted Reprieve

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Bank That Helps Exporters in U.S. Is Granted Reprieve

Article excerpt

The president said the reauthorization of the bank was critical to leveling the playing field with China and other countries.

President Barack Obama has signed a bill that extends the life of the Export-Import Bank through 2014, ending an unexpectedly fierce political fight over an institution dedicated to financing U.S. exports abroad.

Speaking at the signing ceremony Wednesday to an audience filled with owners of small businesses, Mr. Obama said the reauthorization of the bank was critical to leveling the playing field with China and other countries, which provide similar credit to their export industries.

"We're helping thousands of businesses sell more of their products and services overseas," the president said, adding that "in the process, we're helping them create jobs here at home. And we're doing it at no extra cost to the taxpayer."

Mr. Obama paid tribute to congressional leaders who had brokered the deal to preserve the bank, which was in jeopardy after Tea Party- aligned conservatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate seized on the need for reauthorization as a chance to mothball an agency that they consider a purveyor of welfare to big corporations like Boeing and Caterpillar.

With the bank facing the imminent closing of its doors, business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers mobilized a strong lobbying effort that pitted traditional Republican interests against the Tea Party insurgency. The White House threw its support behind efforts to find a compromise.

In the House, the Republican leader, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, reached a deal with the Democrats' second in command, Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, under which the bank's lending limit would be increased to $140 billion over three years, from the current $100 billion. In return, the bank will be subject to new auditing and reporting requirements, which critics said would help ensure that it did not waste taxpayer dollars. …

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