Business groups flex muscle on Ex-Im Bank

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Hundreds of businesses representing everything from the fashion industry to petroleum companies are urging Congress to extend the Export-Import Bank’s charter.

In a letter addressed to all House lawmakers, the businesses say they’ll lose out to competitors if the charter is not extended, costing the U.S. economy jobs just more than a month before the midterm elections.


“If Ex-Im is not reauthorized before September 30, American companies would be put at a unique disadvantage in global markets, resulting immediately in lost sales and lost jobs,” said the letter, which is backed by 865 businesses representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

It represents the most aggressive move yet on behalf of Ex-Im supporters to rally support in face of increasing Republican opposition.

Incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) announced Sunday he would oppose extending the bank’s charter.

McCarthy is under pressure from Tea Party conservatives who have argued that the bank represents “corporate welfare” that only helps big businesses.

Supporters are hitting back hard, arguing that Ex-Im provides crucial loan guarantees to U.S. companies on Main Street, helping expand American businesses overseas in emerging markets.

The letter will likely increase pressure on rank-and-file Republicans undecided about Ex-Im's future. It is clearly designed to put pressure on every Capitol Hill office holder.

The American Petroleum Institute, American Apparel & Footwear Association and the National Small Business Association are just some of the hundreds of groups who signed the letter, first obtained by The Hill.

The letter says that if Ex-Im isn’t reauthorized, the U.S. would lose out to international competitors.

“Export credit agencies in China, France, Germany, Brazil, and Korea have provided significantly more support for their exporters than Ex-Im has provided to U.S. exporters — in some cases, more than seven times what Ex-Im Bank has provided on an annual basis,” the letter said.

Earlier on Monday, 41 House Republicans signed a letter addressed to Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew Boehner Cruz hits back at Boehner for telling him to 'go f--- yourself' John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report Cancun fallout threatens to deal lasting damage to Cruz MORE (R-Ohio) and McCarthy backing Ex-Im. 

The letter was backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, and was circulated by Reps. Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyFormer lawmakers call on leadership to focus on unity Partial disengagement based on democratic characteristics: A new era of US-China economic relations Lobbying world MORE Jr. (R-La.), Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) and Gregg Harper (R-Miss.).

The federally backed bank, established in 1934, helps finance American businesses' foreign sales. Without congressional action before Sept. 30, the bank’s charter will expire.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), a key opponent of the bank, is set to preside over a hearing on the issue Wednesday, when Ex-Im President Fred Hochberg is slated to testify.

This story was updated at 4:54 p.m.