Key Republicans in the House of Representatives stepped up their assault on the Export-Import Bank on Wednesday, vowing to kill the federal bank that helps U.S. businesses sell their products overseas.
In this case, it could be an easy lift for bank opponents: Without a vote to extend its charter, the bank will be forced to shut down June 30.
“They have the advantage, because to do nothing is to get what they want,” Rep. Denny Heck, D-Washington, said.
No state, by far, has more on the line than Washington: Led by Boeing, 234 of the state’s companies have lined up financing for exports valued at $135 billion since 2007, accounting for nearly half the bank’s total lending.
In South Carolina, 72 companies have received assistance from the bank, which also supports about 17,000 jobs, according to bank supporters. The companies include Boeing in North Charleston, Harsco Corp. in West Columbia, and in the Upstate, Mount Vernon Mills, Sage Automotive Interiors and Confluence Holdings Corp.
At a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday, Heck asked Fred Hochberg, the bank’s chairman and president, whether it was “plausible” that Boeing might move some of its manufacturing facilities out of the country if Congress closes the bank. “Without question, that’s a very real possibility,” Hochberg told Heck.
Heck, Washington state’s only representative on the panel, promised an “all hands on deck, all the time” effort to get a winning vote in the House to save the bank, commonly known as Ex-Im.