President Obama urged Congress to re-authorize the Export-Import Bank on Friday, while voicing frustration for Republican opponents who view supporting it as a “betrayal of the cause.”
“This is a program in which we help to provide financing to sell American goods and products around the world. Every country does this,” Obama said at a press conference. “We will lose business and we will lose jobs if we don't pass it.”
Congress needs to re-authorize the bank by Sept. 30 or it will shut down.
The bank has traditionally won bipartisan support, but more and more conservatives have turned against it.
“It's traditionally been championed by Republicans. For some reason, right now, the House Republicans have decided that we shouldn't do this,” Obama said. “When did that become something that Republicans oppose?”
He said that if the bank isn't re-authorized, American companies such as Boeing and General Electric — as well as their sub-contractors — are at risk of losing business to Germany and China.
Most think that the political fight over the bank will come to a head during a September government-funding battle.
Obama put the fight over Ex-Im into a broader context in which he said Republicans were struggling to figure out what their priorities were. It’s a message Obama is expected to underline this fall as he tries to keep the Senate in Democratic hands.
“The challenge I have right now is that they are not able to act even on what they say their priorities are,” he said. “They are not able to work and compromise even with Senate Republicans on certain issues.
“They consider what have been traditionally Republican-supported initiatives — they consider those a betrayal of the cause,” he said.