President Barack Obama signed a bill yesterday that reauthorizes the US Export-Import Bank to operate until 2014, Reuters reported. The bank’s charter had been due to expire today.
Typically, renewing the charter of the bank, which has been around since the 1930s, is no big deal, the New York Times reported. But this year, Tea Party supporters in Congress questioned whether the US government should be in the business of providing financing for exports, Reuters reported.
In the 2011 budget year, the Ex-Im Bank provided large companies such as Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc. and small- and medium-sized businesses with a record $32.7 billion in direct loans and other financing assistance, Reuters reported.
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Lobbied hard to save the bank by business groups like the US Chamber of Commerce, Republicans negotiated a compromise with the Tea Party supporters that will introduce new auditing and reporting requirements for the bank, the New York Times reported. The bank’s lending limit will grow from its current $100 billion to $140 billion over the next three years.
At the bill signing ceremony, Obama said the US needs the bank in order to compete with other countries like China that are aggressive about using their export credit banks to boost exports, Reuters reported.
“As long as our global competitors are providing financing for their exports, we’ve got to do the same,” Obama said, according to Reuters. “So I’m glad that Congress got this done.”
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