Tea Party groups unite against Export-Import

More than 50 conservative groups sent a letter to lawmakers on Monday urging them to not to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

Congress is grappling with whether to reauthorize the bank's charter, which is set to expire on June 30 unless Congress votes to extend it.

The letter is perhaps the most cohesive effort to date on behalf of Tea Party groups in opposing the bank.

"Eliminating the Export-Import Bank would level the playing field and allow U.S. companies to compete for business on their merits rather than the strength of their political ties to the bank," the groups wrote in the letter, obtained first by The Hill.

Tea Party group Americans For Prosperity helped organize the letter, which was also signed by Americans For Tax Reform, the Club For Growth, Freedom Partners and FreedomWorks.

Other Republicans and Democrats — backed by a broad coalition in the business community — argue the Ex-Im helps support U.S. jobs by financing projects in emerging markets where the private sector won't act.

Not according to the Tea Party.

"America deserves an international trade policy that is based on free-market mechanisms, not paying foreign companies to buy exports from large corporations with political connections," the groups wrote.

Top administration officials, including national security adviser Susan Rice and Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny PritzkerPacific deal will boost exports for small businesses: report Commerce chief floats protections for businesses to encourage reporting of hacks GOP seeks strategy against Obama Internet move MORE, are scheduled to speak later this week at the bank's annual conference in Washington.

Supporters of the bank have also sent high-profile messages. Earlier this month, thirty governors — 11 of them Republican — sent a letter to congressional leadership urging reauthorization.

And the U.S. business community has rallied behind the bank, uniting hundreds of small- and medium- sized businesses to argue to lawmakers that the bank helps sustain U.S. jobs throughout the country.

The bank's future is unclear because of the Republican division. GOP presidential candidates Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioRubio praises Marlins pitcher José Fernández on Senate floor Glenn Beck: I was wrong about Ted Cruz Senate rivals gear up for debates MORE (Fla.), Rand PaulRand PaulGOP senators hit FBI on early probe of NY bombing suspect Conservative group presses GOP to vote against spending bill Saudi skeptics gain strength in Congress MORE (Ky.) and Ted CruzTed CruzCruz: Clinton 'tired' and 'formulaic' during debate The Trail 2016: Fight night Google backs Obama's internet transition plan MORE (Texas) each oppose the bank.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) also opposes the bank and he hasn't said if he will move a reauthorization bill through his panel, which has jurisdiction on the issue.

If he doesn't, House leadership could buck Hensarling and bring a bill right to the floor, upsetting the Tea Party along the way.