During debate, the Senate rejected five amendments and then passed (78-20) a bill (H.R. 2072) previously approved by the House that reauthorizes operations of the US Export-Import Bank from June 1- Sept. ’14. Ex-Im reauthorization had been stalled in the Senate over a procedural dispute about amendments. The measure, which also increases the ceiling on the Bank's lending from $100 billion to $140 billion, now goes to the President for his signature.
The legislation also includes provisions proposed by the US fiber, textile and apparel industries that will require the bank to make stronger efforts to provide export credit guarantee programs that are better suited to the industry’s trade practices and supply chain.
Sen. Cantwell (D-Wash.) said the Bank's successes, in selling US products overseas support, some 300,000 American jobs every year. Its fees and returns on loans also have added some $3.7 billion to the US Treasury since 2005. She also noted the Bank's bad loan rate historically has been below 2.5%.
She also argued that the bill contains a number safeguards against unwise spending, including quarterly reports on its default rate with a requirement that the Bank show Congress how it intends to remedy the situation when it climbs above 2%. The bill also asks for a Government Accountability Office report on what it sees as risky loans. A third point requires the Bank to request public input for loans that exceed $100 million.