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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 17, 2012

SCHUMER: EXPECT DEAL ‘SOONER RATHER THAN LATER’ ON EXPORT- IMPORT BANK



In Senate Banking Hearing, Schumer Says Tea Party Effort To Block Bank Is Losing Sway With House GOP Leaders

Bipartisan Negotiations Underway To Extend Bank’s Charter Before May 31 Deadline

Schumer: After Raising Concerns With Ex-Im Bank, Delta Airlines May Be Scaling Back Demands

 

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer predicted Tuesday that a bipartisan deal on the stalled reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank could happen “sooner rather than later,” signaling a potential breakthrough as a May 31st deadline for renewing the bank’s charter nears.

 

In remarks at a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee, Schumer said that House GOP leaders have approached Democrats to negotiate a solution to the export bank issue. He also revealed that Delta Airlines—which had previously raised concerns over the bank’s reauthorization—could be scaling back its demands.

 

“I am feeling more and more confident that this ill-advised effort to block the Export-Import Bank has run its course and is about to run out of gas. I think we could have a deal sooner rather than later,” Schumer said.

“In recent days, Leader Cantor has appeared more eager to negotiate a solution with Democrats as a way out,” Schumer added. “Also, my office has recently been in touch with Delta, which has raised concerns with the bank’s renewal previously. At this point, my impression is they are scaling back their demands so that a resolution may not be far off.”

Last month, Senate Democrats tried to pass the Ex-Im reauthorization as an amendment to the House-passed IPO bill. But at the last minute, Senate Republicans who had cosponsored the amendment pulled their support to provide cover for House Republican leaders, and the amendment failed. Since then, however, Senate Republicans have backpedaled and pledged support for the Ex-Im reauthorization in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Schumer stated that the last remaining obstacle in reauthorization is the Tea Party. But, Schumer predicted their opposition was losing sway with House GOP leaders, as pressure from the business community to pass the reauthorization has mounted.

 

A full copy of Senator Schumer’s remarks appears below:

 

Statement by Senator Charles E. Schumer

Senate Banking Hearing

April 17, 2012

 

As Prepared For Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It has been striking to watch an utter no-brainer of an issue like the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank suddenly become a matter of great controversy.

 What began as an ideological thought bubble from far-right, Washington think tanks has suddenly become a cause célèbre with the Tea Party. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of jobs are hanging in the balance. But I am feeling more and more confident that this ill-advised effort to block the Ex-Im Bank has run its course and is about to run out of gas.  I think we can have a deal sooner rather than later.

For one thing, mainstream Republicans do not want this fight. In fact, they are embarrassed by it. The Tea Party’s kamikaze attacks on the Ex-Im bank have driven an unwanted wedge between the Republican Party and the business community.

 As you know, we in the Senate tried last month to pass the Ex-Im reauthorization by attaching it to a must-pass vehicle. Senator Cantwell offered the Ex-Im measure as a bipartisan amendment to the House IPO bill. The ranking member was a cosponsor, as was Senator Graham of South Carolina.

We were confident we had 60 votes for the amendment. But then, at the last minute, our Republican friends pulled their support from it and the amendment went down. They were trying to give cover to the House Republican leadership. It was not a proud moment.

Almost as soon as the vote was over, many Senate Republicans were already wishing the issue would come up again. 26 Senate Republicans signed a letter to Leader Reid pledging support for Ex-Im if he would give them another chance to vote for it.

We can have another vote in the Senate quite easily, but the concern, of course, has been the House.

The Tea Party wants us to bite off our nose to spite our face. Leader Cantor has been trying to ride this bucking bronco, but he seems to be sensing he’s about to fall off.

In recent days, Leader Cantor has appeared more eager to negotiate a solution with Democrats as a way out.

Also, my office has recently been in touch with Delta—which has raised concerns with the bank’s renewal previously. At this point, my impression is they are scaling back their demands so that a resolution may not be far off.

Our bottom line is to extend the bank’s charter and grow its lending cap like we do in the Senate bill. If there are other reasonable suggestions for modest reforms, like those already added by Senator Shelby, we can take a look at them.

So, I think we are closer to a resolution than the rhetoric from the other side might lead you to believe. The other side knows it’s taken this fight too far and in the face of all this pressure from the business community, they can’t sustain this effort to block the bank much longer.

We are almost a month away from the bank’s charter running out. The Tea Party in the House has stomped its feet; now it’s time for the adults over there to negotiate a solution that puts this issue behind us.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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