| WASHINGTON, July 15
WASHINGTON, July 15 U.S. Senate Democrats sought
to rescue the U.S. Export-Import Bank on Tuesday, insisting it
would save American jobs.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, scheduled
meetings with other lawmakers. The 80-year-old bank will be
forced to close unless Congress acts to renew its charter by
Ex-Im offers financing to foreign buyers of U.S. goods,
providing loan guarantees and insurance to local exporters as
well as credit to purchasers abroad of U.S. exports.
Neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate has
acted, and an August recess looms. Many Republican conservatives
in both chambers oppose it. Some decry it as "corporate
welfare," a government effort to pick winners and losers in the
In 2013 the bank's loans were behind $37.4 billion of exports
and 205,000 U.S. jobs, benefiting the likes of aerospace giant
Boeing and heavy equipment manufacturers such as General
Electric and Caterpillar.
Boeing, which accounted for an estimated one-third of
Ex-Im's commitments between 2007 and 2013, could find financing
in private markets, bank critics say.
Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from coal-producing West
Virginia, said he would meet Reid and other Senate Democratic
leaders late on Tuesday to discuss Manchin's proposal to
reauthorize the bank for five years while including a provision
expanding the number of countries where Ex-Im can finance
coal-fired power plants.
Manchin's provision would overturn restrictions put in place
by the Obama administration limiting the bank's financing for
coal-fired plants to buyers in only the world's poorest
Manchin has gathered several Republican co-sponsors for his
proposal, but some Democratic supporters of the bank, including
Senator Maria Cantwell, don't like the idea of including the
Aides to Democrats in Congress have said that if the Senate
doesn't take up a bill to reauthorize the bank, a fallback plan
would be attaching Ex-Im reauthorization to a must-pass piece of
legislation, such as a resolution expected to keep the
government running beyond September.
Bank supporters say it would be wrong to dismantle the
export financing agency when many other countries already do
more to support their exports than the United States does.
In the House, Representative Jeb Hensarling, a conservative
who favors closing Ex-Im, was hosting fellow Republicans at a
closed-door briefing on Tuesday to discuss the fate of the
export financing agency.
Republican aides described the session as "Ex-Im 101" and
said Hensarling had set it up to educate members about his
opposition to the bank.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Howard Goller)