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Airline Lobbyists Battle Over Export-Import Bank

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said work continues on the Export-Import Bank bill, but he had expected the legislation to come to the floor this week.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who is in talks with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on the reauthorization bill, said Tuesday that the two were pretty close but that issues pressed by Delta remained outstanding.

I think theres no doubt that Mr. Cantor is concerned about the issues that Delta has raised and hes looking at those, the Maryland Democrat said. Delta raises issues that are worthy of concern. That is, from their perspective, they are being disadvantaged to foreign carriers by giving some subsidies to foreign carriers in terms of loan guarantees.

A draft version of the bill from early March includes two sections that address loans used to purchase large air carrier aircraft, which are defined by the bill as airplanes that seat at least 31 passengers.

Under that draft bill, the Ex-Im Bank would be required to solicit and respond to public comment on any loans made to companies that intend to purchase these large air carrier aircraft.

The bill would also require the president to negotiate with foreign nations about substantially reducing export credit financing for large air carrier aircraft.

Hoyer said that though Cantor is concerned about the issues raised by Delta, the Virginia Republican is definitely interested in passing a bill reauthorizing the bank.

My own view, my honest view, is that Mr. Cantor does in fact want to see this bill pass. And hes been working with us to try to make sure that I dont think he can pass it on his own, obviously. Im not sure he wants to pass it on his own. But I think hes going to need help, Hoyer said.

Hoyer said he had expected the bill to come to the floor this week but realized more work is still required.

I presume that has something to do with his wanting to ensure his Members of his Conference that they have a comfort level with the bill that hes agreed to, Hoyer said of Cantor.

A request for comment from Cantors office was not returned.

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