Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada listens at left as Sen. Charles… (J. Scott Applewhite / AP…)
WASHINGTON -- Overcoming objections from conservatives, Congress gave final approval to legislation to reauthorize the nation’s Export-Import Bank, sending to President Obama’s desk a key priority for the business community.
The Senate passed the measure 78-20, but only after dispensing with several 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” as it provides financing for entities to purchase U.S. exports in a way they say props up some companies and harms others with unfair competition. But the business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argued that the bank provides critical financing for American exporters.
A compromise reached last week between Republicans and Democrats in the House broke a months-long logjam, clearing the way for passage.
The bank’s authority will be re-authorized through September 2014, and its lending capacity will gradually increase from its current $100 billion limit to $140 billion at that time. New restrictions would limit default rates and make available for public comment transactions of more than $100 million.
Original source: Congress approves national Export-Import Bank