Business groups await hearing for insight into Ex-Im Bank's future

Business groups will look to an upcoming House hearing for clues as to the future of the Export-Import Bank. 

The House Financial Services Committee, at this point, is expected to hold a June 25 hearing with Ex-Im head Fred Hochberg.

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But that schedule, which hasn't been officially announced by the panel, could be shaken up by rapidly approaching leadership elections, several sources said Wednesday.

Despite the surprising primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), a key ally to Ex-Im supporters, the “opposition is still there," one source said.

"Nothing has changed as far as our path forward,” one business group source told The Hill on Wednesday.

“The process is still the same and we will continue to meet with and educate lawmakers."

After his stunning loss, Cantor announced on Wednesday that he would resign from his leadership post on July 31.

Leadership elections for his replacement are set for June 19.

Although he did not specifically address Ex-Im, Cantor told reporters Wednesday afternoon that there is a full set of bills awaiting House action and "there's a lot of things in motion."

Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who strongly opposes of an Ex-Im Bank reauthorization, is probably in the mix for Cantor’s job.

Business groups said that the leadership changes won't derail their push for an Ex-Im reauthorization, which needs to get done by Sept. 30.

"The necessity for reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank for small and medium manufacturers across the country hasn’t changed,” said Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs at NAM.

“This remains a top priority for manufacturers and we will continue to tell the story of how the Bank supports U.S. exports and jobs in districts across the country, to both sides of the aisle.”

So far, no bill has been introduced although support in Congress is gathering steam beneath the surface, sources said.

Last week, NAM and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were two of the groups that canvassed Capitol Hill to talk to senators last week where “we heard significant support to reauthorize Ex-Im from Republican and Democratic offices,” Dempsey said.

Hochberg told reporters in Chicago on Wednesday that he wasn’t sure what Cantor’s loss would mean to the effort to keep the Bank up and running.

“We are at the early stages of the reauthorization,” Hochberg said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“We haven't had a hearing yet. The president has introduced a bill. We are working with both the House and the Senate on moving this thing forward but I haven't been in Washington so I don't have a good comment on that.”

The White House's proposed bill would reauthorize Ex-Im for five years and raise its lending cap to $160 billion.