Despite Cantor loss, Hoyer hopeful on Ex-Im

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is hoping Rep. Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) shocking primary loss Tuesday won't undermine efforts to reauthorize the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.

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Hoyer and Cantor had worked together in 2012 to renew the bank — a federal credit agency supporters say is vital if the nation's small businesses are to compete in the global economy. Hoyer said it remains unclear how Cantor's loss will affect that debate, but he's hopeful the House majority leader hasn't lost his interest in legislating the issue.

"I have not talked to Mr. Cantor, and therefore, frankly, I don't know what his reaction's going to be," Hoyer said Wednesday by phone. "There's overwhelming support for that [the bank]. I would hope that Mr. Cantor would pursue that, notwithstanding the election results of last night."

Hoyer has long pushed the Democrats' so-called "Make it in America" agenda, a group of more than 70 bills designed to boost middle-class job creation, but he's had little success convincing GOP leaders to consider the proposals.

Aside from the Export-Import Bank, Hoyer singled out a second proposal in the package — a bill requiring the government to devise an official manufacturing strategy, to be updated every five years — as having broad bipartisan support and, he's hoping, a chance of passing this year.

"Those two items in particular, demonstrably, have broad-based support, and I would hope we can move both those bills forward," Hoyer said.

"He [Cantor] is the majority leader, and he, in my opinion, supports both of these pieces of legislation, and I would hope he would bring them to the floor," he added. "I don't know what fully the political reaction in his caucus is going to be [to his loss]. But you know the American people expect the Congress to work on [their] behalf. These are two items on which we can work on the people's behalf, and I would help, notwithstanding any elections … that we would have the capacity to do that."

The comments came just hours before a handful of House Democrats were set to introduce six additional bills to add to their Make It In America package.

The proposals, Hoyer said, are "focused on expanding jobs — good jobs for people — and making sure they're trained to do the jobs that are being created, and making sure that we encourage manufacturers, businesses, inventors, innovators, developers to do it here."

"That will help expand the middle class, create jobs that are obviously needed and will create the kind of business environment which will grow our economy," he added.