Pity the Export-Import Bank, caught between warring Republican factions

(ctpost, Norwalk, 8 May 019) No federal agency has lived such a bizarre state of suspended animation as has the Export-Import Bank, a long-obscure bureau that provides loan guarantees to U.S. companies doing business abroad. Rather than heralding it as a force for job creation, free-market conservatives turned Ex-Im into an ideological rallying cry that led to some of the most bitter disputes in Republican circles this decade. GOP senators called each other liars. House conservatives threatened to oust the speaker. Rank-and-file Republicans rebelled against the rebellion to save the bank. That changed Wednesday, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., allowed confirmation votes on three board members, each of whom passed with near-unanimous Democratic support and sizeable Republican opposition. Once again, Ex-Im is back in business, able to support loans larger than $10 million for some of the largest U.S. exporters. But the fight is far from over. Just as it is finally getting a board, the Ex-Im Bank faces another fight over its very existence, as the 2015 legislation reauthorizing the agency is set to expire in the fall, setting up a debate that never seems to end and has left the bank's supporters continually puzzled.