Centrist House members flex muscle, pass Export-Import Bank reauthoriation

Export-Import Bank logoBy Lynn R. Mitchell

On Tuesday evening, centrist members of the U.S. House flexed some muscle and overwhelmingly cast a bipartisan vote of 313-118 to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank (see WSJ’s House votes to reauthorize U.S. Import-Export Bank). Its charter had lapsed on July 15, 2015, after tea party members had targeted it, calling it “corporate cronyism.”

Immediately after the vote, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA 6th CD) posted on Facebook:

Tonight I voted against reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. Continuing the Export-Import Bank without significant, structural reforms is not responsible governing. While I strongly support trade and have supported the Export-Import Bank in the past, it has become increasingly clear that the status quo cannot continue, and true reforms are necessary if the Bank is to continue at all. Unfortunately, that debate about the best way forward and potential reforms for the Bank cannot even happen now because of the procedural maneuver used to push this reauthorization through the House.

Former Governor and U.S. Senator George Allen has long advocated the Export-Import Bank (see Reauthorizing the Export-Import Banks is a no-brainer), noting in 2014, “The Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal organization that has historically enjoyed bipartisan support, as it has been highly successful in helping American companies export goods since 1934. In fact, just last year the bank facilitated $37 billion of exports, thereby bolstering about 205,000 U.S. jobs.”

President Ronald Reagan was supportive on January 30, 1984, when he said, “Exports create and sustain jobs for millions of American workers and contribute to the growth and strength of the United States economy. The Export-Import Bank contributes in a significant way to our nation’s export sales.”

On June 14, 2002, President George W. Bush said, “I have today signed into law S. 1372, the Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2002. This legislation will ensure the continued effective operation of the Export-Import Bank, which helps advance U.S. trade policy, facilitate the sale of U.S. goods and services abroad, and create jobs here at home.”

According to The Hill (see House approves Ex-Im renewal):

Opponents of the bank also said the House vote raised the odds it will eventually be renewed by the Senate.

“Unfortunately, it looks like they’re going to be able to resurrect this thing,” said House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

The GOP lawmakers voting for Ex-Im were frustrated business-minded Republicans who are typically leadership allies.

Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) joined forces with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) over the summer to spearhead the discharge petition, which requires 218 signatures to move forward.

“This is about us being competitive all around the world,” Fincher said.

The push to discharge Ex-Im intensified after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abruptly dropped out of the race this month to succeed Boehner as Speaker. House conservatives were blamed for McCarthy dropping out, and it energized Ex-Im supporters.

A fact sheet about the Export-Import Bank can be found at their website and at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website.

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