With 26 legislative days left before the Export-Import Bank’s charter expires Sept. 30, a preliminary count of the agency’s supporters and opponents finds that 40 percent of House Republicans are against extending its life.
In 2012, 93 Republicans voted against renewing the charter of the Ex-Im Bank, which provides taxpayer-backed loans to foreign companies and countries to buy U.S. products. Of those lawmakers, 79 remain in the House, The Hill noted. Fifteen of them said they would not extend the bank’s charter if it came up for another vote.
Six of the 79 are undecided, and five said they would consider reauthorizing the bank if mandatory reforms were included in a bill extending the charter.
Reforms aimed at increasing transparency and accountability within Ex-Im were included in the 2012 bill, but they were largely ignored, critics of the banks say.
A total of 147 Republicans voted in 2012 to reauthorize the bank. Four of those, including newly elected Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, said they wouldn’t vote to extend Ex-Im’s charter this time around. During a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Ex-Im last week, Capito said:
The Ex-Im Bank’s guidance is bad for our nation’s economy, bad for the development of future technologies and bad for the environment. It is for these reasons that I do not support the extension of this charter.
Also last week, 41 House Republicans, including New York’s Pete King and California’s John Campbell, chairman of the Monetary Policy and Trade subcommittee, sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner urging reauthorization of the bank. The letter said, in part:
We believe that Congress should move forward with a multi-year reauthorization of Ex-Im that provides certainty and stability for U.S. manufacturers and exporters of all sizes. As the House legislative calendar continues to narrow before the bank’s expiration, we respectfully request that you work with all stakeholders to expedite consideration of Ex-Im reauthorization to ensure job creators in our districts have the certainty they need to compete in the global marketplace.
Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is leading a coalition of Republicans against reauthorizing the bank. Opponents argue Ex-Im furthers cronyism and corporate welfare, and like-minded conservatives in the Republican-led House indicate they have no plans to extend the bank’s life.
Meanwhile, proponents — including an alliance of House Democrats, President Obama, and organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers — say Ex-Im fosters job creation and helps small businesses remain competitive in the global market.
In the past, reauthorization of the 80-year-old bank has met with little resistance. But when its charter was last extended two years ago, Republicans opened the floor for debate.
Outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., was a key player in brokering the deal that led to Ex-Im’s reauthorization in 2012. But his unexpected primary loss this month to Randolph-Macon economics professor Dave Brat threw the bank’s future into question.
Ex-Im’s path to reauthorization was further complicated when McCarthy, Cantor’s elected successor as majority leader, told Fox News he opposes renewing the bank’s charter.
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