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Congress approves legislation to reauthorize Export-Import Bank

The measure survives several proposed GOP amendments to do away with the bank or scale back its lending authority. It now goes to President Obama.

May 15, 2012|By Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times
  • Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) react after the vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.
Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) react after the… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

WASHINGTON — Overcoming objections from conservatives, Congress gave final approval to legislation to reauthorize the nation's Export-Import Bank, sending to President Obama a key legislative priority for the business community.

The Senate passed the measure 78 to 20 after turning back several proposed GOP amendments to do away with the bank or scale back its lending authority.

Conservatives in the House and Senate have fought the bank as a form of corporate welfare. The bank subsidizes the sale of U.S. exports, which critics said props up some companies and harms others through unfair competition.

But the business community, including theU.S. Chamber of Commerce, contends that the bank provides crucial support for American exporters. Without action, the bank's authority would expire May 31.

A compromise reached last week between Republicans and Democrats in the House broke a months-long logjam, clearing the way for passage.

The legislation reauthorizes the bank through September 2014 and gradually increases its lending capacity from $100 billion to $140 billion. New restrictions would limit default rates and require public comment for transactions exceeding $100 million.

lisa.mascaro@latimes.com

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