Dems maneuver for Ex-Im vote

Dems maneuver for Ex-Im vote
© Anne Wernikoff

Three Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee moved Thursday to force the panel to consider reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, according to a copy of an amendment first obtained by The Hill.


Reps. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreHillicon Valley: Senate Dems move to force net neutrality vote | AT&T spoke with Mueller's team about Cohen payments | Chinese firm ZTE ceases operations after US ban | Panel advances bills to secure energy infrastructure Lawmakers remember Slaughter in Capitol ceremony Dems slam FCC head for proposed limits to low-income internet program MORE (Wis.), Denny HeckDennis (Denny) Lynn HeckExclusive: Guccifer 2.0 hacked memos expand on Pennsylvania House races Heck enjoys second political wind Incoming lawmaker feeling a bit overwhelmed MORE (Wash.) and Maxine Waters (Calif.) offered the amendment in advance of the committee's Friday markup of President Obama's budget request.

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Lawmakers must reauthorize the bank before June 30 or it will shut down. Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is a staunch critic of the bank, arguing with other Tea Partyers that it puts taxpayers at risk and is "corporate welfare."

The current draft of the panel's plan does not state whether it will move a bill approving Ex-Im, but states that it is "potentially placing taxpayer dollars at risk."

Centrist Republicans and Democrats, backed a broad coalition of business groups, say the bank helps sustain U.S. jobs.

Moore and Heck's amendment states that the panel "will work to consider reauthorization of the Bank through regular order that lets all sides be heard."

"[We will] will strive to complete work in a timely fashion that gives clarity and certainty to the American jobs that currently depend on the Bank’s support for the sale of their products overseas," the amendment says.

A Republican committee staffer said that Heck offered a similar amendment last year when the panel voted on its budget views. 

"It failed just like this one is expected to," the committee staffer said. "Our side totally anticipated this and was prepared. Even Rep. Stephen FincherStephen Lee FincherTensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP Trump backs Blackburn's Tennessee Senate bid Corker backs Blackburn for Senate seat after retirement tensions MORE [R-Tenn.] spoke up against the Democrats' amendment during debate -- which [Rep. Moore] said caught her by surprise." 

Fincher is a strong supporter of the bank and introduced legislation last month with 57 other GOP co-sponsors that would reauthorize Ex-Im for five years.

Ex-Im watchers note that there are enough votes in Congress to pass an Ex-Im reauthorization, but Hensarling would first have to move a bill through his panel to send to the floor. He's been tight-lipped about whether he'll move a bill, and inaction would effectively kill the bank.

That makes the amendment more complicated for Republican members of the panel, who will be forced take a position on the thorny issue for the first time this Congress.

"Understandably, this will put many of our Republican colleagues in a somewhat uncomfortable and precarious situation," Moore spokesman Eric Harris said.

Harris called it a choice between their "senseless and irresponsible Tea Party platform" and supporting Ex-Im that "promotes domestic job growth, levels the international playing field for American businesses and creates greater access to the vital financing they need."

Republicans on the committee are divided about whether to reauthorize the bank. According to a senior aide of one Republican committee member, "over half of the GOP members of the [committee] want to overhaul Ex-Im — not get rid of it."

On Wednesday, 12 former top U.S. officials sent a letter to congressional leadership urging Ex-Im reauthorization, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

This story was updated at 9:10 p.m.