Businesses to descend on DC for Ex-Im push

Businesses to descend on DC for Ex-Im push
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Nearly 700 businesses of all sizes will flood Congress this week to tell Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

The coalition spans 41 states that will participate in nearly 400 Hill meetings — including some with House and Senate leadership, according to organizers.

Officials at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) helped organize the meetings.

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Congress must reauthorize the bank before June 30 or it will shut down.

The meetings come as Tea Party groups like Heritage Action and American for Prosperity are urging lawmakers to oppose the Bank's reauthorization.

Conservatives, led by House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), say the bank is tantamount to corporate welfare and cronyism. But centrist Republicans and Democrats — backed by the business community — say that the bank helps sustain millions of U.S. jobs.

"Contrary to Chairman Hensarling’s continued belief, the Export-Import Bank is working. And because of that fact, so are hundreds of thousands of employees whose companies can compete and win in markets around the world — 15 of which are in the Chairman’s own district, supporting 377 jobs," said Demetrios Halastaras, president of Mathew Marine in Houston, Texas, who will be part of the group on Capitol Hill this week.

At an August 2014 hearing on the bank, Hensarling criticized big businesses for making taxpayers pay for "foreign corporate welfare that advantages a handful of very successful and powerful politically-connected corporations."

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“Ex-Im doesn’t level the playing field; Ex-Im rigs it in favor of a few powerful Fortune 500 corporations that are the overwhelming beneficiaries of this program — Washington shouldn't pick winners and losers," Hensarling said.

Heritage Action delivered messages to offices urging them to ignore the business community's message during the meetings.

"Americans didn’t give Republicans a historic House majority to hand out favors to K Street lobbyists and well-connected special interests," the messages read, according to a copy obtained by The Hill. "The bank should be allowed to expire in June and Congress should focus on advancing policies that create opportunity for all."

Supporters argue that the bank finances projects in emerging markets where the U.S. private sector won't enter, helping keep U.S. businesses competitive against foreign competition from China.

Rep. Stephen FincherStephen Lee FincherTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Lamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee Tensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP MORE (R-Tenn.) has introduced legislation with 57 other GOP co-sponsors that would extend the bank's charter for five years with significant reforms to how its financial disclosures.

Hensarling, whose panel has jurisdiction over Ex-Im, has not said whether he will move the bill through his committee.

Democrats are working on a separate reauthorization bill that they will introduce this week, a source familiar with the bill said.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Report on alleged surveillance abuse in 2016 to be released Dec. 9 McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack MORE (R-S.C.) will speak at a forum in Washington on Wednesday hosted by Bloomberg calling for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. Meanwhile, Sens. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkWhy Republicans are afraid to call a key witness in the impeachment inquiry Ex-Rep. Duffy to join lobbying firm BGR Bottom Line MORE (R-Ill.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPolitical purity tests are for losers Former coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda MORE (D-W.Va.) will have a press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday discussing the issue, too. Both have been prominent supporters of Ex-Im's reauthorization in the past.