Chamber Plans August Outreach as Export-Import Bank Stays Expired

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a key White House ally on reviving the Export-Import Bank — plans a blitz to rebuild momentum with state and local chambers as members head home for the August recess. "The Chamber and our members regret that Congress will adjourn for its August break without reauthorizing the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) despite clear evidence that broad majorities in both the Senate and House support it," executive vice president for government affairs Bruce Josten said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. "The impasse over a long-term highways bill had nothing to do with Ex-Im, and legislative maneuvering over that bill and its funding mechanisms in the end sidelined Ex-Im." Josten is making the case that planning for the lapse in the Ex-Im Bank's charter has helped to blunt the potential job losses and other economic effects thus far, but the trend cannot continue. "If Ex-Im isn’t reauthorized soon, American workers and companies will pay the price in lost sales and lost jobs. America's small and medium-sized companies will pay a particularly high price for the failure to reauthorize Ex-Im," Josten said. In the opposite corner from the chamber are conservative outside groups like Heritage Action, which is led by Michael A. Needham, the chief executive officer. "Despite the very best efforts of the Washington establishment, the Export-Import Bank remains closed. The bank’s expiration was the culmination of a three-year effort waged by conservatives against a vast, well-funded network of consultants, lobbyists and big-government interest groups," Needham said. "House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stood strong for conservatives. If the Republican Party hopes to attract voters who gravitate to a message built around opportunity for all and favoritism to none, GOP leaders must follow his lead and preserve this historic policy victory." The Senate has tied the Export-Import Bank reauthorization and overhaul to a long-term highway bill, but talks on a compromise package will have to wait for September at the earliest. Related: Highway Bill Might be Senate's Last Accomplishment Before August Boxer, Inhofe Want to Avoid Highway Bill Trick or Treat See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.