In Ex-Im Bank fight, Texas has most to lose, and fiercest bank opponents
By David Lawder
WASHINGTON, June 4 (Reuters) - In a fight in the U.S. Congress over the future of the Export-Import Bank, no state looms larger than Texas, on both sides.
The state has the most companies backed by the government's export credit agency, and - paradoxically - is home to the bank's fiercest congressional critics who want to let the institution die when its charter expires at the end of June.
Representative Jeb Hensarling leads a contingent of fellow Texas Republicans pressing hard for the shutdown of the bank, despite its support for many large and small Texas businesses.
Arguing that "Ex-Im" embodies "crony capitalism" doled out by Washington bureaucrats and that it puts taxpayer funds at risk to guarantee foreign loans, many Republicans want to end the tradition of renewing the 80-year-old bank's charter.
If Hensarling, the influential House Financial Services Committee chairman, stands by his stated intention not to advance a bill to reauthorize the bank, it will soon have to stop lending and writing new trade insurance. The bank's only hope then would be legislation in the Senate.
The bank's closure would be cheered by Republican fiscal hawks, but be seen by many as a fresh blow to U.S. international economic clout months after Washington failed to stop China from launching its own Asian development bank.
If the bank dies, China and 58 other industrial countries with export credit agencies would gain a bigger share of major international sales and projects, Ex-Im backers say.
Texas exporters, with a high concentration in oil and gas equipment and engineering, say thousands of jobs are at risk. The bank lists 1,233 companies in Texas it has helped to export $22 billion worth of U.S. goods and services, a dollar amount higher than anywhere except Washington state, home of Boeing Co . Continuación...