We tend to pay the most attention to government agencies when their funding is about to run out, which is why all eyes are suddenly on the Export-Import Bank. The Ex-Im Bank gives taxpayer funded loans to foreign buyers who want to import American goods. Supporting for the bank has traditionally been bipartisan, but conservative support has waned and a recent scandal isn't endearing it to anyone.
What is the Export-Import Bank?
The Ex-Im Bank is a federal agency that helps finance the export of American made goods by providing insurance, loans and loan guarantees. The loans are made with U.S. taxpayer funds, but that money is returned with interest — last year the Treasury made $1 billion from the bank, which is part of why people, including the White House, support it. If Congress doesn't renew funding for the bank in September, it will dissolve.
Why haven't I heard about this before?
Unless you work at Boeing, or another large company that exports U.S. made goods, it's not an agency most people come into contact with. In the past, it's usually been a little boring, especially politically. As The Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney wrote Wednesday, today's House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Ex-Im Bank drew big crowds, but two years ago, hardly anyone attended and the hearing was wrapped up in half an hour after a few unanimous votes. "Why has the Ex-Im become a controversial issue? Mostly, it's the Tea Party's populism," Carney writes.