House Democrats say they’re confident lawmakers will reauthorize the federally backed Export-Import Bank — they just don't know when.
On a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that a federal transportation bill lawmakers could take up next month might be the best vehicle to reauthorize the bank, whose charter formally lapsed June 30.
Hoyer said he has "drawn the conclusion that in fact there is a sense amongst some in leadership that" the bank needs to be reauthorized.
"I will not tell you that I've received a guarantee," from leadership, Hoyer said. "But there has been a lot of discussion and rumors that [Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE (R-Ohio)] is looking at the Highway Bill to pass next month and to have Ex-Im on that bill."
Conservatives have vehemently opposed the bank, whose charter formally lapsed June 30. They argue that it uses taxpayer funds to finance politically connected corporations like Boeing and General Electric, the latter of which announced earlier this month it would move nearly 500 U.S. jobs overseas as a result of Ex-Im's charter lapsing.
Democrats and moderate Republicans are adamant they have the votes to reauthorize the bank, which they say sustains millions of U.S. jobs by helping to finance projects the private sector wouldn’t otherwise enter.
"This is an egregious blow to small businesses," said Rep. Denny HeckDenny HeckExclusive: Guccifer 2.0 hacked memos expand on Pennsylvania House races Heck enjoys second political wind Incoming lawmaker feeling a bit overwhelmed MORE (D-Wash.), who has fought hard to reauthorize the bank, on the call.
Hoyer indicated that Ex-Im supporters are eyeing the transportation bill to reauthorize the bank and not the looming government funding measure lawmakers must pass by the end of September.
Lawmakers had thought they need to vote on a federal transportation funding bill by the end of October. But federal officials recently said they'll have enough funds to last through next spring, which means Ex-Im's future remains uncertain.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said that Ex-Im supporters have enough votes. She criticized conservatives for attempting to block such a vote.
"I've had conversations with leadership and with Mr. BoehnerJohn BoehnerLobbyists bounce back under Trump Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee Chaffetz won't run for reelection MORE," Waters said with a laugh. "I didn't get a guarantee — but I received a nod."