House Dems to offer Ex-Im bill

Top Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee plan to introduce legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank’s charter, which is set to expire on June 30.  Democratic Reps. Gwen Moore (Wis.), Maxine Waters (Calif.) and Denny Heck (Wash.) are working on the bill, according to an email Moore’s chief of staff, Minh Ta, sent to senior House Democratic  staff members on Thursday.
The email, which said the lawmakers were working on a “Democratic alternative reform Ex-Im bill,” was first obtained by The Hill. “We hope to get a bill drafted and introduced soon that will adhere to the diversity of the Dem Caucus and keep us unified,” Ta wrote. “As you all know, the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank is a major priority for the Dem Caucus and all our bosses… I just wanted make you all aware that there will be a Dem bill out there.”
It’s unclear how the legislation will differ from the five-year Ex-Im reauthorization bill that Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) introduced earlier this week. Fincher’s bill had 57 GOP co-sponsors, but no Democrats.  Moore said Friday during a forum in Milwaukee with bank president Fred Hochberg that  Fincher’s bill“ is a good start — but it has warts.” Fincher’s bill would require audits of the bank’s  portfolio, and would reduce its lending cap from $140 billion to $130 billion.  It also includes a provision opposed by environmentalists that would reverse Ex-Im guidelines restricting the bank from financing projects at power plants that don’t adopt greener technology. One senior Democrat aide to a House member said that the provision was a “non-starter” for many House Democrats.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and other fiscal conservatives oppose Ex-Im’s reauthorization. They argue that the bank is “corporate welfare” that only helps big businesses like Boeing. Democrats and centrist Republicans, backed by the business community, say the bank helps expand U.S. exports by financing U.S. investments abroad.  Hensarling hasn’t said whether he will move a bill through his committee, which has jurisdiction on the issue. Ex-Im supporters hope they can put pressure on Hensarling by building bipartisan support.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has said he will hold a hearing on the bank’s reauthorization.

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