The Senate rejected a motion (55-44) to begin debate on an amendment to reauthorize the Export Import Bank (Ex-Im) co-sponsored by Sens. Cantwell (D-Wash.), Graham (R-S.C.), Shelby (R-Ala.) and Johnson (D-S.D.). The vote essentially ended the effort to reauthorize the Ex-Im as part of H.R. 3606, Jumpstart Our Business Start Ups Act. H.R. 3606, a bill to increase American job creation and economic growth by improving access to the public capital markets for emerging growth companies, was passed (73-26).

The Ex-Im’s charter expires in May. The Cantwell amendment would have extended the bank’s charter through Sept. 30, ’15, and increased the bank’s lending authority from $100 billion to $140 billion. The Ex-Im provides financing for sales of US exports to international buyers. The amendment included an important provision that would have improved access to financing for the textile apparel supply chain.

The NCC joined with the National Council of Textile Organizations and the American Apparel & Footwear Assoc. in supporting this amendment, including sending a letter to Senators urging them to vote for the amendment. The letter is on the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/issues/2012/eximlet.cfm.

It is unlikely that Ex-Im reauthorization legislation will find a place on the Senate calendar in the near future, according to Senate Leaders. However, discussions in the House indicate the possibility of a two-year extension of the bank’s charter.

The Ex-Im bank recently has become controversial even though it has been reauthorized more than 25 times since it was established in ’34. Although the bank is self-funded and not supported by US taxpayers, conservative groups argue that it displaces financing that should be made through commercial banks where there is a more rigorous review of risk.