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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, October 13, 2015

Discharge petition to force House vote on Ex-Im Bank reauthorization

By J. Preston Carter, J.D., LL.M.

The House of Representatives will be voting on the Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2015, following the bipartisan successful moving of a discharge petition to bring the bill (H.R. 3611) up for a vote without a report from the House Financial Services Committee. The discharge petition was filed by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn).

Background. Fincher recently introduced a measure to “reform and reauthorize” the Export-Import Bank (see Banking and Finance Law Daily, Sept. 28, 2015). The Ex-Im Bank’s authorization expired on June 30, 2015, but it can continue to service existing loans, guarantees, and insurance policies since it is funded through FY2015. Despite bipartisan support, House Republicans have been able to block motions to bring reauthorization legislation up for a vote (see Banking and Finance Law Daily, July 1, 2015). A discharge petition signed by 218 members of the House brings a bill from committee to the floor for consideration when the committee has delayed the reporting of the bill, making it not possible to discuss in Congress.

Hensarling fears divided majority. Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, stated that “signing a discharge petition sets a very serious, very dangerous precedent for our Republican majority that goes far beyond Ex-Im,” He added, “At a time when our Republican conference is divided, this will divide it even further.” Hensarling also referred to the Ex-Im Bank as “corporate welfare.”

Waters as 218th signer. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif), ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, said she was “proud to have been the 218th signer” of the petition, which “removes a critical barrier to renewing the Bank, which provides the support and certainty American businesses and workers need to compete in the global economy.”

Pelosi commends Republicans. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) commended the 42 Republicans who signed the discharge petition and said, “Every big trading country has the equivalent of an Ex-Im Bank. For us to have ours not authorized and funded is to tie the hands of American business as we try to expand our exports and, again, increase jobs and paychecks in the United States.”

Beatty urges swift approval. House Financial Services Committee member Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), who signed the discharge petition, urged the House to “swiftly approve legislation to renew the Bank’s charter.”

Senators applaud petition vote. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill), noting that the Senate had already “passed the Kirk-Heitkamp Ex-Im bill with 64 votes,” referring to S. 819, which is identical to Fincher’s bill, said he is “confident that given the chance, it will do so again.” Referring to the Senate vote on S.819, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) said it is clear that “Congress is united across party lines to reauthorize the Bank, and we have the votes to do it.”

FSR also urges swift approval. “Reauthorizing Ex-Im is key in order to promote a level foreign trade and investment playing field for American businesses,” said Financial Services Roundtable Executive Director Eric Hoplin. “FSR urges the House to move quickly to enact this critically-needed reauthorization.”

Companies: Financial Services Roundtable

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