Driving the Day: 5/7/12

May 7, 2012

Need to know…

  • Export-Import Bank Agreement Reached. With an agreement reached late Friday, House leaders will move quickly to the floor this week on legislation to extend the Export Import Bank’s charter through September 2014 and raise its loan exposure cap 40% to $140 billion. House leaders announced the agreement on Friday night after negotiations between Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. The deal will “promote American exports and remove a threat to the creation of American jobs,” said Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
  • Washington Not Delivering on Transportation. The Washington Post writes in an editorial that temporary transportation extension measures “is hardly the ideal way for Congress to do business. … The deeper problem is what the parties agree on: No one wants to raise the gas tax ... Instead of telling their constituents the truth — that well-maintained roads cost money, and some of that money has to come from motorists who use those roads — both Republicans and Democrats propose to finance transportation through accounting gimmicks and stop-gaps.” The latest extension runs out June 30.
  • Six European Countries Held Elections Yesterday. Greeks, hammered by two years of austerity measures, voted in a parliamentary election. The only two major parties supporting an EU/IMF bailout program that keeps Greece afloat, won less than 33% of the vote and only 150 out of 300 parliament seats. Any coalition is expected to be short-lived, plunging Greece into fresh political uncertainty and threatening to revive Europe’s debt crisis. In a 51% to 48% vote, France handed the presidency to leftist Francois Hollande, a champion of government stimulus. The victory could deal a death blow to the drive for austerity in Europe. Financial markets are eager for clear signals on his policies and how hard he plans to push back against German-led austerity. Other nations having elections this weekend included Serbia, Germany, Italy, and Armenia.
  • U.S. Manufacturers Say They Need Money Now. Although American manufacturers say business is booming again, they are complaining that banks aren’t lending them money to ramp up production. In a new survey of small to mid-sized manufacturers, 26% of respondents cited a “lack of capital to grow” as their biggest challenge. Banks say they’re willing to lend with caution, but manufacturers say they need money now at a time when they need to hire more workers, buy new equipment, and aggressively market themselves.

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