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Export-Import Bank returns to full strength after 4 years

By Clyde Hughes
Export-Import Bank returns to full strength after 4 years
The U.S. Senate approved three board members to the Export-Import Bank Wednesday, returning it to full strength after four years. File Photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo

May 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate revived the Export-Import Bank to full strength Wednesday by confirming three new members, giving it the membership it needs to approve some $40 million in deals that languished for four years.

The Senate approved appointees Spencer Bachus, Judith Del Zoppo Pryor and Kimberly Reed to the bank's board. All three earned more than 70 Senate votes for confirmation.

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The Export-Import Bank gives out loans, guarantees and other financing to encourage foreign purchases of U.S. goods. Some business groups and the White House lobbied for the bank's return to full strength, considering it a critical tool for connecting with foreign markets.

Opposition to the bank put together a rare pairing of lawmakers like Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who called it another form of corporate welfare.

Conservative split on the bank spans 15 years, with Koch Industries, a strong Republican donor, complaining that companies like Boeing, GE and Caterpillar and other large industries received 97 percent of its financing in 2013. The Trump administration had been equally split on the bank -- with U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and adviser Peter Navarro arguing for it, while acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney opposed it.

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