Ex-Im Bank Wins Another Reprieve
Continuing resolution nearing passage includes funding many Republicans oppose.
The embattled Export-Import Bank of the United States would get a stay-of-execution under the continuing resolution expected to clear Congress before the midnight Wednesday deadline, a bank spokesman, Lawton King, told Government Executive.
Many Republicans oppose the lending agency as corporate welfare, and the spending bill released June 2 by the House Appropriations Committee came with a summary reading: “The bill does not extend the authorization of the Export-Import Bank. If an authorization is not in effect during fiscal year 2016, funds may not be made available for new loans and other financing.
For much of the summer, visitors to the bank’s website encountered a message saying, “Due to a lapse in EXIM Bank’s authority, as of July 1, 2015, the bank is unable to process applications or engage in new business or other prohibited activities.”
In an Aug. 12 update, bank president Fred Hochberg said: “Last week, Congress adjourned for their August recess without reauthorizing EXIM. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives return to Washington on September 8th. This means that EXIM will focus on the management of our $107 billion portfolio of outstanding obligations until such time as Congress acts to reauthorize the Bank. As a part of this, of course, customers must continue to make timely payments towards outstanding obligations.”
On Sept. 25, the bank joined other agencies in posting its plan for “Orderly Termination…in the Event of Failure to Enact Regular Appropriations or Continuing Resolution.” It said 24 employees, or 5.8 percent of the Ex-Im Bank’s workforce of 413, would be retained while the remainder would be furloughed. Three contractors would continue to work. “This number excludes two presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed employees who are exempt from furloughs and 70 employees and five contractors on an on-call status,” it said. “It is expected that this plan can be implemented within one-half day.”
Agencies are unlikely to have to implement their shutdown plans now, because the Senate has passed a continuing resolution to keep government running, and the House is expected to follow suit. But the continuing resolution will run out on Dec. 11 so funding battles are expected to resume prior to that deadline.
NEXT STORY: Congress Moves Halfway to Averting a Shutdown