U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Olympia, and the rest of Washington’s congressional delegation won an important round in the fight to renew the Export-Import Bank’s authority.
The bank, backed by U.S. taxpayers, helps guarantee loans to boost exports from large and small U.S. companies. Tea partiers in the House forced the bank’s authorization to lapse in May, but minority Democrats and less strident Republicans joined forces last week to pass H.R. 597 by a 313-118 margin.
The bank is a boon to major exporters, such as Boeing. It also helps Washington farm exports and small firms around the state. Tens of thousands of jobs in this state are supported by the bank, which financed $27.5 billion in U.S. exports in 2014, according to Heck, the Olympia Democrat.
All 10 of Washington’s House members voted in favor of the bill, reflecting Washington’s status as the most export-dependent state in the nation. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray also support the bank.
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It’s now up to the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate to act on the bill, which is necessary to allow Ex-Im to take on new transactions.
Without Ex-Im, Heck has noted, the U.S. becomes the only major economy without a national export financing tool. This extension needs to be approved.