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Fund for U.S. exporters gets Tea Party scrutiny

Elizabeth Wynne Johnson Apr 17, 2012

Bob Moon: Let me guess: You haven’t really given much thought this morning to the Export-Import Bank. That’s a government agency that’s supposed to promote U.S. trade abroad and its role has gone largely unquestioned for decades. But not this time around, as the Senate Banking Committee ponders its future today.

Elizabeth Wynne Johnson reports from Washington.

Elizabeth Wynne Johnson: The Export-Import Bank provides federal credit guarantees and outright loans to help U.S. manufacturers export more stuff. A looming deadline to renew the agency’s charter has sparked a polarizing debate in Washington. A debate with a familiar ring to it.

Gary Hufbauer: It’s a mini-version of the debt-ceiling debate.

Gary Hufbauer is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Conservative Republicans in Congress want to get rid of the Export-Import Bank entirely. Backers say the subsidies help create jobs, and backers point out that every major trading country has some form of export credit agency. Hufbauer says without a reauthorization, some U.S. company’s going to lose out on a big sale.

Hufbauer: And the reason they didn’t get it was that some competitor in Europe or in China got the deal with the support of its export credit agency.

And that’s a trade deal that nobody in Washington wants to make in an election year.

I’m Elizabeth Wynne Johnson for Marketplace.

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