Obama pushes for Ex-Im Bank extension

President Obama pushed Congress to extend the Export-Import Bank when lawmakers return to Washington next month. 

The Export-Import Bank, which provides financing for projects designed to increase U.S. exports, is scheduled to shut down on Sept. 30 unless Congress acts to prevent it. 

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In his weekly address Saturday, Obama said that the risks of allowing the bank to shut down would be too great. 

“We should be doing everything we can to accelerate this progress, not stall it,” he urged. “Small business owners have had to overcome a lot these past several years.  We all saw local businesses close their doors during the crisis. And in the past few years, we’ve seen more and more open their doors and do their part to help lead America’s comeback. At the very least, they deserve a Congress that doesn’t stand in the way of their success.” 

Republicans have been divided over whether the Ex-Im Bank should be renewed. Some conservatives have argued the bank is a form of corporate welfare, but Democrats have said the program is needed to keep the United States economically competitive with countries that heavily subsidize industries.

Obama said in his address there was precedent for bipartisan support for the Ex-Im Bank in the past. 

“Past Congresses have done this 16 times, always with support from both parties,” he said. “Republican and Democratic presidents have supported the bank, too.   This time around shouldn’t be any different.  Because the bank works.  It’s independent.  It pays for itself. But if Congress fails to act, thousands of businesses, large and small, that sell their products abroad will take a completely unnecessary hit.” 

He also urged voters to contact their representatives about the pending Ex-Im reauthorization during the remainder of the congressional August recess. 

“Your members of Congress are home this month,” he said.  “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. Tell them to do their jobs – keep America’s exports growing, and keep America’s recovery going.