This Wednesday Barack Obama met with small business leaders to discuss the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, arguing that its expiration is hurting American businesses both big and small.
The Export- Import Bank (Ex-Im) has been the national lender for the US for the past 80 years, providing loans, insurance and guarantees to help foreign customers purchase US products without commercial credit.
The Charter had previously been extended 16 times but this year Congress allowed it to lapse at the end of June due to congressional inaction.
Blocked by the Republicans and conservative groups who believe that the bank is a corrupt institution and the embodiment of ‘corporate welfare’ and ‘crony capitalism’, the bank can no longer enter into new deals.
However the Chamber of Commerce and business groups in both chambers of congress agree that the bank helps small businesses and keeps US business competitive.
Hoping to support the Ex-Im and amend the bipartisan highway construction bill, attendees of the recent meeting anticipate it being cleared by Congress approved by Obama before the August break.
Conducted at the Whitehouse the meeting consisted of ten small businesses, exporters and manufacturers who needed urgent attention.
Calling for a quick renewal of the charter, Obama stated that both small and large businesses have recently been hurt by the new lapse in loan guarantees and trade insurance.
Arguing that ‘this is actually something that matters to people on the ground’, he stated that if congress does not carry the reauthorization through the US will be the only ‘advanced country’ to leave its companies with no export finance assistance.
He also argued that the bank’s lapse would ultimately put the country at a disadvantage due to the fact that other countries would still have similar agencies supporting their exporters - China being the key example with their worldwide success in home-grown businesses exports.
‘For us to be the only country that leaves these outstanding companies high and dry makes absolutely no sense’ he told reporters on Wednesday, further adding that the renewal ‘should be a no-brainer’.
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