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Obama to Pressure Congress on Ex-Im Bank

FILE - U.S. Export-Import Bank President Fred Hochberg (L) and Export-Import Bank Deputy Inspector General Michael McCarthy (R) testify before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Export-Import Bank's reauthorization, on Capitol Hill.

President Barack Obama will meet with a group of 10 business owners at the White House Wednesday as he pushes Congress to reauthorize the charter for a government agency that assists American companies who sell their goods in foreign markets.

The charter for the Export-Import Bank expired on June 30 after the Republican House of Representatives went on a planned recess without holding a vote on the issue. The bank has strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, but a group of staunch conservative Republicans has criticized the agency as a form of "corporate welfare" that only helps a few large corporations that do not need government assistance.

The White House says the business owners who will meet with the president have worked with the Ex-Im Bank in the past "to expand their exports and sustain and create jobs." Supporters have also noted that rival nations such as China and Germany have similar agencies assisting their companies sell exports on the global market.

"The Export-Import Bank is a critical tool in the bipartisan trade agenda that helps U.S. businesses succeed in global markets and grow their exports. Ex-Im equips companies with financing they need to go toe-to-toe with foreign rivals, resulting in more exports and more well-paying jobs in cities and towns here in America, rather than overseas," a White House official said.

There is growing support in the Senate to attach a measure to restore the Ex-Im Bank's charter on a bill that would provide funding for the federal Highway Trust Fund, which must be approved by July 31.