Lawmakers call for Ex-Im renewal at bank's annual Washington conference

Lawmakers call for Ex-Im renewal at bank's annual Washington conference
© Greg Nash

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Safeguarding US elections by sanctioning Russian sovereign debt Kamala Harris and the stereotypes we place on Black women MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday defended Boeing and other big businesses that utilize the Export-Import Bank as she and other lawmakers called for Ex-Im's reauthorization.

"I'm not backing away from being proud of the big businesses that create jobs and suppliers," the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee said at the bank's annual conference in Washington.


Waters said, "Some of the larger businesses that are criticized by those who oppose the bank — such as Boeing — are responsible for all of the suppliers in our districts that make a tremendous difference for jobs."

Republican critics of the banks argue that it is a form of "corporate welfare" and have nicknamed it the "Bank of Boeing," since more than one-third of its loan commitments went to Boeing between 2007 and 2013, according to a 2014 Standard & Poor's report.

Lawmakers must reauthorize the bank before June 30 or it shuts down.

It's unclear whether the House will bring a reauthorization bill to a vote because of the division among Republicans. The Senate is expected to vote on a reauthorization bill, where it will likely pass.

Rep. Frank LucasFrank Dean LucasTrump administration signs AI research and development agreement with the UK OVERNIGHT ENERGY:  House passes sweeping clean energy bill | Pebble Mine CEO resigns over secretly recorded comments about government officials  | Corporations roll out climate goals amid growing pressure to deliver House passes sweeping clean energy bill MORE (R-Okla.) predicted the Bank would be reauthorized.

"When I put a crop in the ground, I expect to harvest something, therefore I expect to it will be reauthorized," Lucas said. "But understand that this is a philosophical difference to the death. ... This is a fight to the political economic death."

A broad coalition of business groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, are pushing for reauthorization. Tea Party groups, such as Heritage Action, oppose it.

"[Some people] say, 'Gee — you're working with the Chamber of Commerce and the manufacturers and a lot of entities that you have sometimes criticized,' " Waters said.

"If Maxine Waters can work with the Chamber and the manufacturers that sometimes she's not always gotten along with — then everybody should be able to do it," she added, drawing applause and laughter from the crowd of about 500 people.

Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Showdown: Trump-Biden debate likely to be nasty Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 Harris faces pivotal moment with Supreme Court battle MORE (D-N.D.), who is co-sponsoring a bipartisan reauthorization bill in the Senate with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), said the opposition is due to a "philosophical difference."

"I'm from North Dakota, and North Dakota has a bank where I used to be on the board," Heitkamp said. "We're up from some stiff competition all around the world [so] we cannot disarm the Export-Import Bank."