There’s good news and bad news on the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM). The good news is that, thanks to Senate confirmation of several board members in May, the bank is up and running again. The bad news is that its charter will lapse at the end of September.
Congress, most notably the House Financial Services Committee, has begun work to reauthorize EXIM. It’s vital that legislators move this work forward expeditiously.
EXIM provides financing and guarantees for U.S. exports that directly support American jobs at no cost to the taxpayer. It’s one of the smallest and leanest of government agencies.
EXIM was a contentious issue in 2015, when it was last up for reauthorization. However, after a long debate, its charter was reauthorized with two-thirds majorities in both chambers of Congress voting in favor. Common sense won the day.
The Senate took an important step toward supporting the bank in May when it confirmed Kimberly Reed to serve as Chairman and President of EXIM, and Judith Delzoppo Pryor and Spencer Bachus to serve as directors on its board. As in 2015, large majorities in the Senate voted to confirm the nominees.
Thanks to this action, a board quorum was restored for the first time since mid-2015. During this interim, the bank was unable to extend loans or guarantees in excess of $10 million.
For a window into the implications of a lapse in EXIM’s authorization or a lapse in its board quorum, it’s worth looking at EXIM’s June 2019 Report to the U.S. Congress on Global Export Credit Competition (the bank’s annual, congressionally-mandated “competitiveness report”).