WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading U.S. business lobby group on Monday urged senators to support a bipartisan plan to save the U.S. Export-Import Bank and warned that closing the bank would hurt jobs.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a letter it "strongly" supported a bill to extend the mandate of the U.S. export credit agency, which will shut on June 30 if its mandate is not renewed.
The bill, introduced to the Senate on Thursday, seeks to extend the bank's term until 2019, increase lending to small businesses and overturn limits on coal-fired power plant projects.
"The chamber urges you to cosponsor this bill," wrote Bruce Josten, executive vice president of government affairs at the group, a major political donor.
"Failure to reauthorize Ex-Im would put at risk hundreds of thousands of American jobs, and would hurt our small- and medium-size businesses."
Some conservative Republicans oppose reauthorizing the bank and argue that Ex-Im's support for overseas buyers of U.S. goods, such as Boeing Co planes, gives foreign firms an edge over U.S. competitors.
(Reporting by Krista Hughes; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)