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Senate Dems tryto keep Export-Import Bank alive

| Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 6:21 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats sought to rescue the U.S. Export-Import Bank on Tuesday, insisting it would save American jobs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, scheduled meetings with other lawmakers. The 80-year-old bank will be forced to close unless Congress acts to renew its charter by Sept. 30.

Ex-Im offers financing to foreign buyers of U.S. goods, providing loan guarantees and insurance to local exporters, as well as credit to purchasers abroad of U.S. exports.

Neither the House nor the Senate has acted, and an August recess is nearing. Many Republican conservatives in both chambers oppose it. Some decry it as “corporate welfare,” a government effort to pick winners and losers in the private sector.

In 2013, the bank's loans were behind $37.4 billion of exports and 205,000 U.S. jobs, benefiting the likes of aerospace giant Boeing and heavy equipment manufacturers such as General Electric and Caterpillar.

Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from coal-producing West Virginia, said he would meet Reid and other Senate Democratic leaders late on Tuesday to discuss Manchin's proposal to reauthorize the bank for five years while including a provision expanding the number of countries where Ex-Im can finance coal-fired power plants.

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