Manufacturers disappointed Ex-Im missing from GOP sked

Manufacturers are disappointed that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) left reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank from his initial September schedule.

McCarthy’s memo to House Republicans urged them to discuss a host of job proposals, energy initiatives and their opposition to the Affordable Care Act. It didn’t include Ex-Im’s charter, which expires at the end of next month.

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“Manufacturers were disappointed to see that Ex-Im Bank reauthorization wasn’t included in the initial September outlook, but we understand that not all Republicans agree on the best path forward on this legislation,” said Lauren Airey, director of trade facilitation policy for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a group working to reauthorize the bank.

Other business groups said that Ex-Im's being left off the memo shouldn't be read as a sign that it won’t be reauthorized, but as a sign that the leadership doesn't want to talk about something that divides Republicans.

“[The memo] is a sign that Republicans don't think they are good issues to talk about back home because they divide the party,” said one top lobbyist who is working on Ex-Im reauthorization.

Still, the memo plays into business groups' fears that House leaders aren't doing enough to urge Ex-Im reauthorization.

Lawmakers could tack on a reauthorization bill to a short-term government-funding measure. Congress will have to pass a funding bill before Sept. 30 to prevent a government shutdown.

That option would bypass moving a bill through the House Financial Services Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who opposes reauthorization. 

“The real question for the GOP leadership is whether they'll quietly try to slip a reauthorization or extension by their base,” said Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler, whose group opposes the bank.

Heritage, Hensarling and other bank opponents argue its financing is a form of “corporate welfare” designed to prop up businesses like Boeing and Caterpillar. 

Centrists and Democrats say the bank’s financing is needed to help sustain U.S. jobs and help American companies compete in emerging markets against China.

McCarthy's office did not respond to a request for comment. He noted in his memo that he'll be sending a more comprehensive September agenda later this month.

Comments McCarthy made about the Ex-Im Bank the weekend after he was elected House majority leader had already unnerved business groups.

“I think Ex-Im Bank is something government does not have to be involved in,” McCarthy, who in past years had backed the bank, said on "Fox News Sunday." “I think the private sector can do it.”

The Chamber of Commerce, NAM and other business groups have been seeking to build pressure on the House to move a bill.

“There is bipartisan support for legislation to reauthorize Ex-Im, including from a majority of the House of Representatives,” said Sally-Shannon Birkel, a spokeswoman for the Chamber.

Birkel said that the Chamber is “working to ensure that members of Congress hear from job creators in their districts this recess.”