President Obama on Wednesday signed legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, hailing the government apparatus as an important tool to promote U.S. exports and tying it to his campaign message of building a stronger middle class.
Obama had championed the renewal of the bank, whose charter would have expired Thursday, over opposition from some conservatives in Congress, who said the institution distorted the free market.
The Ex-Im Bank, as it is known, provides low-interest, government-backed loans to foreign entities that purchase American-made goods. The institution’s charter is extended through September 2014, and its financing authority was raised to $120 billion and will grow to $140 billion.
The bank extension legislation eventually was approved by Congress with bipartisan support, which Obama touted as proof that Washington can still get work done in an increasingly partisan election year.
“I’m glad Congress got this done. I’m grateful to members of both parties for coming together,” the president said during brief remarks at a bill-signing ceremony. “Now, we’ve got to do more.”