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What you need to know about the Export-Import Bank: A quick update

The Export-Import Bank’s (Ex-Im Bank) charter is once again up for reauthorization by Congress, this time with a deadline of June 30, 2015. The Ex-Im Bank, the United States’ official export credit agency, promotes U.S. exports by making loans to American companies looking to do business abroad. Its mission is to help strengthen the U.S. economy by creating jobs and helping businesses join global markets.

After the bank’s controversial reauthorization in September of last year, it’s no surprise the looming June deadline is once again sparking debate in Congress. Contention between parties as to the value of the Ex-Im Bank is growing and Republican opposition is strong, despite the bank’s many bipartisan reauthorizations throughout history.

On April 21, more than 50 organizations joined billionaire conservative activists Charles and David Koch in their call to allow the bank’s charter to expire on June 30. In a letter to Congress, the Koch brothers and their partners demanded an end to the Ex-Im Bank, which they and other opponents say costs the American taxpayer too much money, and have repeatedly accused of “corporate welfare.” Opponents also claim the bank disrupts the free market by competing with the private sector.

Read: Can the private sector really replace the Export-Import Bank? by Amadou Sy

Proponents of the 80-year-old bank—including many small businesses, which make up 90 percent of the bank’s beneficiaries—argue that it has significantly benefited the American economy and emerging markets, and is actually not costing the taxpayer money.

Read: Export-Import Bank an easy call by Michael E O’Hanlon and David Patraeus

In addition, some feel that the lack of government support would cause the U.S. export sector to fall behind other countries, many of whom have their own export-import banks.

Read: What the Export-Import Bank means for U.S. business in Sub-Saharan Africa by Amadou Sy and Zenia Lewis

Conservatives are hopeful that, this time around, Congress will not reauthorize the bank’s charter. Will they succeed come June 30? 

For more information and to read more from our experts on the Ex-Im Bank and global trade, check out this primer from the bank’s previous reauthorization in September 2014.

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