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Thousands of American companies are one step closer to regaining access to resources that have for years helped them export their goods and services overseas and create jobs back home.
On Tuesday evening, the House of Representatives voted (at long last) to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im). Congress allowed the 80-year-old agency’s charter to expire earlier this year, eliminating access to critical loan and export insurance services used by thousands of U.S. companies, including more than 3,000 small businesses.
In the end, the vote was a blowout. The House voted by a 313-118 margin to reauthorize Ex-Im, with 127 Republicans — a “majority of the majority” — voting in favor alongside all but one Democrat. This considerable margin of support was little changed from May 2012, when the House last approved a multi-year reauthorization of the Bank.
This latest bill is the same one the Senate approved by a vote of 64-29 on July 27. Together, the lopsided votes show overwhelming support for the bill to reform and revive Ex-Im. The White House also supports reauthorization.
Adding urgency is the increasingly devastating effect the bank's closure has had on U.S. businesses. It has already forced a number of companies to start moving jobs overseas in order to continue competing for overseas contracts. Others have had to pull back on hiring plans due to projects that have stalled in the absence of Ex-Im’s services.
“Ex-Im’s support levels the global market for American exporters and helps them remain competitive with their foreign counterparts,” Bruce Josten, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s executive vice president for government affairs, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The vote is a clear indication, he added, that lawmakers overwhelmingly support reauthorizing Ex-Im.
“Having now passed the House and Senate separately, it is time for Congress to take the necessary steps to send this legislation to the president’s desk,” Josten said. “The alternative is risking hundreds of thousands of American jobs and the livelihood of our small- and medium-size businesses.”