Maneuver To Initiate Vote On Ex-Im Bank Charter’s Renewal Sparks Debate

Date: October 02, 2015

Potential Procedural Vote Could Push Issue Through Congress

Renewal of the charter for the Export-Import Bank has been a controversial issue in Congress throughout the year. Faced with end-of-the-year deadlines surrounding the federal budget, some lawmakers are attempting a procedural maneuver to force a vote on the bank charter’s renewal. The Hill reports that on Wednesday, Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) “initiated a seldom-used legislative maneuver” known as “a discharge petition” that might force a vote on the issue as early as next week. Commenting on his plans, Fincher said, “It’s unfortunate that this is the series of events that has taken place, but we’ve got no choice. We need a vote.” The move would enable Fincher and other supporters of the Ex-Im Bank to bypass the House Financial Services Committee, led by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), which earlier this year “forced the expiration of Ex-Im’s congressional charter on June 30 via Hensarling’s refusal to move a bill through his panel,” The Hill reported. Current House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is supportive of renewing the charter, but his time in Congress ends Oct. 30. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who hopes to be the next Speaker, is opposed to the bank, and “any leadership-initiated effort to bring the bill up for a vote would spell a major headache for” him.

What Happens Next

There is indication of growing support for Fincher’s plan. However, in order to force a vote on the charter in the House, Fincher must gather signatures from 218 House members. Whether this level of support for the bank exists in the House is uncertain. Still, The Hill reported that “the business community has rallied a coalition of Republicans and nearly all Democrats to ensure that the votes are there for the bank’s reauthorization.” Furthermore, “a bipartisan bill in the Senate is also believed to have the votes to pass.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small businesses across the US were among the Ex-Im Bank’s customers, meaning the lingering lapse of the bank’s charter has a direct affect on financing for US small businesses. Furthermore, many small businesses that don’t use the bank themselves may provide goods and services for businesses that do, and thus could see negative affects on their business due to uncertainty surrounding the financial implications of the charter’s lapse.

Additional Reading

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Wall Street Journal also covered debate over the Ex-Im Bank’s charter.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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