WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate voted on Tuesday to renew the U.S. Export-Import Banks charter through September 2014 and raise its lending cap to $140 billion, overwhelming objections from conservative Republicans who want to shut the bank down.
The bill now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. The House of Representatives passed the same legislation last week by a vote of 330-93.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said the nearly-80-year-old government bank is needed to compete with other government export credit agencies around the world.
"We cant afford to give an inch to our global competitors. Canada, France and India already provide seven times the assistance for exporters that America does. China and Brazil provide 10 times the support," Reid said.
Ex-Im provides direct loans and other financing assistance to help U.S. exporters make foreign sales.
U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing is the banks biggest beneficiary, and other top clients include Caterpillar, General Electric and KBR.
Last year, the bank authorized more than $32 billion in financing to support $40.6 billion in exports from more than 3,600 U.S. companies. It estimates that activity supported about 290,000 export-related jobs.
Ex-Ims current charter expires May 31st, and bank officials have warned they could soon reach their current $100 billion lending cap because of record demand in recent years.
(Reporting By Doug Palmer; Editing by Dan Grebler)