Congress took the right path in bringing back the Export-Import Bank after conservative Republicans allowed the bank’s charter to expire last summer.

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CONGRESS made the right choice in restoring the Export-Import Bank.

The bank, founded in 1934, is a federal agency that provides financing and loan guarantees for sales of U.S. goods to foreign buyers. But it lost its charter June 30 amid a protracted and unnecessary ideological battle.

The U.S. House and Senate this week approved reinstating the bank through 2019 as part of a $300 billion transportation package. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.

That is great news for hundreds of large and small companies nationwide, such as Mukilteo-based Vista Clara. The maker of groundwater detection instruments sells many of its products, priced between $100,000 and $300,000, to foreign governments, universities and companies.

For years, Vista Clara depended on the Ex-Im Bank to insure overseas shipments before receiving payment — a type of insurance the company could not find on the private market.

Conservative lawmakers blocked reauthorization of the bank earlier this year saying it amounts to corporate welfare and gives unfair advantages to big companies. U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the bank represents “the rise of a progressive welfare state.”

The bank, however, doesn’t give handouts. Instead, it provides services that exporters could otherwise not access, which enables them to do more business by guaranteeing deals and freeing up working capital. That matters to small and large companies alike, from Boeing on down to Vista Clara, an eight-employee firm. In Washington state alone, the bank has supported $135 billion worth of exports since 2007.

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., along with U.S. Reps. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, and Denny Heck, D-Olympia, deserve credit for helping bring back the Ex-Im Bank, a vital tool for growing jobs and exports in this trade-dependent state.