The Long Island Association business group is calling on Congress to keep open the government agency that finances exports.

In a two-page letter to congressional leaders, LIA president Kevin Law said the Export-Import Bank of the United States had spurred exports by local small businesses and earned money for the federal government.

"Given our nation's fragile economic recovery, our country should utilize this vital source of financing, continue to promote U.S. exports, create American jobs and not disadvantage U.S. manufacturers in the competitive global marketplace," Law wrote.

The Ex-Im Bank provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to help foreign buyers purchase American-made products. It has backed $1.7 billion worth of exports from 50 Long Island businesses since 2007.

One of the companies, Love & Quiches Gourmet in Freeport, was named small-business exporter of the year by the bank in April.

Love & Quiches began exporting in the early 1990s, sending frozen cheesecakes and chocolate cakes to the Middle East, said founder Susan Axelrod. Exports generated $7.2 million, or more than 20 percent of the company's sales, last year.

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The LIA was responding to comments made last month by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) that the bank should be phased out. The bank's authorization to operate expires on Sept. 30.

In June, 41 Republican members of the House, including Peter King (R-Seaford), sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner and McCarthy calling for a quick reauthorization of Ex-Im.