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Political Support Erodes For Export-Import Bank


The Export-Import Bank is an 80-year-old Washington institution whose mission is to help U.S. companies sell products abroad. Now the bank is being threatened with extinction. Tea Party Republicans argue that the bank's really just providing corporate welfare. NPR's John Ydstie has more.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: The Ex-Im bank was created during Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to support the export of U.S. goods. Today, some of the nation's largest companies are its biggest beneficiaries including Boeing, Caterpillar and General Electric. The bank provides loans and loan guarantees for their foreign customers. This week, Tea Party Republicans gained ground in their effort to kill the bank when California Republican Kevin McCarthy, who will soon take over as House Majority Leader, told Fox News he wants the bank closed.

CONGRESSMAN KEVIN MCCARTHY: I think Ex-Im bank is something government does not have to be involved in. The private sector can do it.

YDSTIE: The House Financial Services Committee is discussing the bank's future in a hearing today. The Ex-Im bank's charter expires in September and McCarthy controls whether a renewal comes to a vote. The White House and business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce argue closing the bank would be a big blow to U.S. exports. Supporters say private banks don't have the interest or skills to support thousands of small and medium-sized U.S. businesses who depend on the bank's financing to sell their goods. John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.