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Obama urges reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank

Friday, August 22, 2014 - 01:18

President Barack Obama says failure to reauthorize controversial bank could cause businesses that sell products abroad to ''take a completely unnecessary hit.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) President Barack Obama on Saturday (August 23) urged business owners to press Congress to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which could halt any new financing Sept. 30 - as some conservative Republicans hope it will - if lawmakers fail to act. The little-known institution provides loans to buyers of U.S. products abroad. Obama said in his weekly radio address that if Congress allows the bank to close, it would stunt U.S. export growth and impede economic expansion. "If Congress fails to act, thousands of businesses, large and small, that sell their products abroad will take a completely unnecessary hit," the president said. While playing a relatively small role in the U.S. export universe, the bank has become a political flashpoint. Conservative Republicans single it out as an unnecessary and potentially risky government program, while moderates and most Democrats defend it as providing a useful boost to businesses seeking new markets. During the address, Obama urged the public to contact their members of Congress who are home on vacation this month. "If you're a small business owner or employee of a large business that depends on financing to tackle new markets and create new jobs, tell them to quit treating your business like it's expendable, and start treating it for what it is: vital to America's success," Obama said. Household names such as Boeing Co, Caterpillar Inc and General Electric Co are big beneficiaries of the bank's services. Ex-Im Bank's critics say aiding well-established firms such as those serves little purpose and puts taxpayers at risk. Opposition to renewing the bank's charter includes influential lawmakers such as new House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, both Republicans. Fueling concerns about the bank's role, Delta Airlines charges that the institution provides an unfair advantage to foreign competitors of the U.S. carrier. The airline wants a ban on Ex-Im Bank backing for deals to buy wide-body aircraft, such as Boeing's 747s. Boeing says that without Ex-Im Bank financing, airlines around the world would buy Airbus planes, usually with French or German export credit subsidies. The bank's supporters hope that Congress will temporarily renew the bank's charter in a stopgap government funding bill that must pass before Sept. 30. That would give lawmakers more time to craft legislation that would provide a longer charter extension while adding reforms that would mollify critics. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012 and skeptic about the bank, said this week he thinks the bank's charter will be kept alive with a temporary extension.

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Obama urges reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank

Friday, August 22, 2014 - 01:18