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Bipartisan effort forces Export-Import Bank charter vote to House floor

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

This week, a bipartisan group of House members is  joining forces in an attempt to revive the Export-Import Bank.

The Ex-Im Bank, as it’s known, is a federal agency that finances exports. It’s been around for 80 years, but stopped doing business July 1, after House leaders let its charter lapse.

Among the lawmakers trying to get the bank up and running again is Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint.

Kildee tells us that the Ex-Im Bank is an important part of a growing economy because it alleviates a lot of the uncertainty that comes with global trade.

Some of those opposed have referred to the Ex-Im Bank as “crony capitalism,” a claim Kildee calls “kind of interesting.”

“Every industrial country in the world has an export financing mechanism,” he says. “If they think it’s crony capitalism, then so is the corner bank.”

Kildee tells us it’s simply too soon to see a lot of the larger effects that will be caused by bank’s shutdown, but he has already seen companies forced make decisions based on the lack of export financing.

He explains:

“It takes more than a couple of months in order for the effect of the loss of the Export-Import Bank to really take root in the economy, but it’s real. This is one of those organizations that nobody really knows about it until it’s not there. And then suddenly companies who are looking to finance their receivables for global trade, they can’t get that financing, they can’t make that deal, and over time that will have a chilling effect on economic growth. And because there isn’t a great big catastrophe that occurs all at once, doesn’t mean that there won’t be significant long-term consequences if we don’t get this fixed.”

Kildee says that he, his fellow Democrats and “42 courageous Republicans” in the House used a rare mechanism called a “discharge petition” to force a vote on whether to extend the bank’s charter. He says during a test vote Monday night, 62 Republicans voted in favor of moving forward with the motion.

“This is clearly one of those issues that there was majority support in Congress, but because a few at the top of the Republican leadership didn’t want to move on it, they refused a chance for us to vote on it,” he says.

“We were able to get together and use this very rarely used technique and it will not come to the floor in the next couple of days.”

– Ryan Grimes, Stateside

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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