Ex-Im (July 7)

Hi Mike —

I’d thought about sketching out the debt crisis in Puerto Rico and the policy options and prospects for relief or restructuring, but HRC “preempted” that, speaking to the issue earlier today and advocating access to Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the Commonwealth.  If you want this issue tracked at all, I can come back to it.

FYI, looks like I will be NYC with some free time midday and afternoon on both Tues. and Wed., July 21 and 22.

Ex-Im update below.

Dana

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Following the lapse in its authorization when Congress did not act before the June 30 deadline, the Ex-Im Bank is not be able to make new loans or guarantees, though it can continue to service existing loans and guarantees.

Despite the lapse, arising from the Bank’s rapid fall from grace in recent years among right-leaning Republicans in Congress (it was renewed by Congress in 2006 without even a roll-call vote in either chamber), it is likely to live to see another day, probably by the end of the month.

Even though neither House Financial Services Chair Hensarling nor Senate Banking Chair Shelby will mark up a stand-alone bill, Boehner and McConnell are weighing attaching a Bank reauthorization provision to Highway Trust Fund extension.  The Fund expires July 31, the day on which the House adjourns.  Mitch McConnell promised Sens. Cantwell, Heitkamp, Graham, and Kirk that the Senate will vote on renewing the bank this summer and said on the record that an imminent, and must-pass, highway bill is the “obvious” place for an amendment vote.  “Looks to me like they have the votes, and I’m going to give them the opportunity.”

The outstanding question on the Highway bill is what pay-fors can be found and, therefore, the duration of the Fund’s (I’ll have more on this tomorrow).   But this duration may have no bearing on the term of the Ex-Im reauthorization.

Talk of amendments to the reauthorization seeking to reform the practices of the Bank has been muted in recent weeks, reflecting polarized positions in Congress.  Bank supporters — a majority of members in both chambers — seek no reforms; most opponents wouldn’t be mollified by any.  Some House Republicans may push for short-term extensions of the Bank charter rather than the four-year timeline preferred by Ex-Im backers in the Senate and to shrink its economic blueprint.

65 Senators  — including 22 Republicans — voted against killing an Ex-Im reauthorization amendment to a defense policy bill on June 10.  More than 240 House members are co-sponsors of at least one of two renewal bills, though substantial differences remain, particularly over provisions to remove the administration’s restrictions on financing for coal projects.   Boehner has assured House Financial Services Chair Jeb Hensarling that the House will be allowed to amend Bank revival that clears the Senate.

Meanwhile, Ex-Im will stay in business for the time being to service more than $100 billion in outstanding loans and guarantees, and no immediate layoffs or changes are planned, bank officials said. The bank is operationally funded through Sept. 30.

 

 

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