Former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivered the keynote address at today's session of the Export-Import Bank's (Ex-Im Bank) 2012 Annual Conference. More than 1,200 exporters, financiers and foreign trade partners attended this opportunity for American businesses to promote their goods for sales in foreign markets.
Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, also made remarks this morning.
The Ex-Im Bank, founded in 1934, provides capital guarantees and credit insurance to American exporters which private sector lenders are not willing or able to offer. Over the years, Ex-Im Bank has underwritten more than $456 billion of U.S. exports.
The Ex-Im Bank is facing a May 31 deadline for reauthorization by Congress. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has introduced legislation that would authorized the bank through 2015 and expand its lending power from $100 billion to $140 billion. In the House, Roll Call reports that Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) is working on a reauthorization deal with Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) though some Republican representatives are expressing concerns over the agreement.
Critics argue that the Ex-Im Bank is another example of "corporate welfare," funding big companies that do not need financial aid from the federal government. Others charge that some Ex-Im Bank loans fund international projects hurting American companies. Critics point to the recent financing for the sale of Boeing Company jets to international airlines that compete against U.S. carriers.