With just nine legislative days left before the Export-Import Bank’s charter expires Sept. 30, House Republicans are reportedly working on a deal to extend the life of the agency for several months.
Could the Export-Import Bank live to see a few more months?
In an interview with The Daily Signal, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, confirmed there was talk of a deal that would reauthorize the bank and allow Congress to revisit the issue either after the November elections or early in the next Congress.
Jordan, a staunch opponent of Ex-Im, said though he would rather see the bank end altogether, reauthorization for several months is better than extending Ex-Im’s life for another five or six years. He said:
If it’s something short term where it may give those of us who are for letting it wind down a little more time to make the argument, make the case and engage in the debate … that could be something that makes some sense.
Jordan also said he’s hopeful Republicans will pick up seats in the House and Senate after the midterm elections. Doing so, he added, could further bolster the GOP’s numbers in preventing reauthorization of the bank, which provides taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign countries and companies to purchase U.S. products. He said:
Most taxpayers in the general sense are tired of bailouts for big corporations and handouts for people who aren’t willing to work. And they’re the middle-class taxpayer in the middle who gets stuck with the bill. And they’re tired of Washington that operates that way.
So they’re looking for members of Congress who say, ‘Look, we’re going to represent free markets. We’re going to represent freedom, and we’re going to represent taxpayers and not represent some kind of institution where the vast majority of the benefit goes to just a select few corporations.’ And this is one of the first places we can start.
According to Politico, Speaker John Boehner and House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, have discussed a deal to act on a short-term reauthorization of the bank. It is unknown how long an extension of the bank’s life would be, though Politico reports Hensarling would like to see the bank’s charter extended until early 2015.
Democrats have threatened to attach Ex-Im’s reauthorization to a government-funding bill.
The Texas conservative has led the fight against reauthorizing the bank. He, along with Jordan and groups like Heritage Action for America and Americans for Prosperity, argue the agency is an engine of cronyism and corporate welfare.
Despite Politico’s report, David Popp, spokesman for the Financial Services Committee, said Hensarling and Boehner had not entered into any agreement. He told The Daily Signal:
Chairman Hensarling is continuing to discuss the issue with members and is opposed to reauthorizing Ex-Im because Washington shouldn’t pick winners and losers, and hardworking American taxpayers—who are already under tremendous stress—shouldn’t be forced to pay for foreign corporate welfare that advantages a handful of powerful, politically connected corporations.
Boehner supported Ex-Im’s reauthorization in 2012. Then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor brokered a deal to extend the bank’s life, although Cantor’s recently elected replacement, Kevin McCarthy of California, said he opposes reauthorization.
Dan Holler, spokesman for Heritage Action, told The Daily Signal talks of any accord are solely looking to gin up momentum. He said:
Ex-Im proponents are desperately seeking to create the impression of momentum, but the swift denials demonstrate how politically toxic the bank has become. The Republican-controlled House should not be doing the bidding of President Obama and his golfing buddies.
Supporters of Ex-Im—which include President Obama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers—believe it helps small businesses compete in the global market and creates jobs.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced a bill extending the bank’s life for five years in July, and Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., has floated the possibility of introducing his own. He has yet to do so, however.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he would consider attaching a bill reauthorizing Ex-Im to a continuing resolution to fund the government. Both the fiscal year and the bank’s charter end Sept. 30.
“Most taxpayers in the general sense are tired of bailouts,” says @Jim_Jordan.
However, during an interview on Fox Business today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he was confident Congress would pass a clean continuing resolution—reducing chances of Ex-Im’s reauthorization being attached to the funding bill.
“I think we’ll pass a clean CR,” McConnell said, “which would operate the government probably into December and that will be the height of the drama.”