GOP chairmen implore colleagues to stop Export-Import bill

GOP chairmen implore colleagues to stop Export-Import bill
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House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is imploring his colleagues to vote against a discharge petition that would pave the way for reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

Hensarling and Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) sent a letter to Republican House members on Friday, obtained first by The Hill, urging them to oppose the bipartisan effort to force action on Ex-Im legislation. The vote is expected on Monday.

Hensarling, who opposes the bank's reauthorization, did not move an Ex-Im bill through his committee. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and 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.) went around him by securing the 218 House signatures needed to file a discharge petition.

In the letter, Hensarling and Sessions said that on three different occasions, they found that the majority of Republicans on the Financial Services panel opposed an Ex-Im bill.

“We are unaware of any chairman — Republican or Democrat — who ever moved a bill in committee that a majority of the majority did not want to consider. ... So today we’re respectfully asking you — no matter what your position on the Export-Import Bank may be — to vote no on the Discharge Petition.”

The two Republican chairman said the vote is about following “regular order” in the House, an issue that has loomed large in the search for a replacement to outgoing Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerWomen poised to take charge in Dem majority Freedom Caucus ponders weakened future in minority Consultant to Virginia Senate candidate compared GOP establishment to 'house negro': report MORE (R-Ohio).

"This isn't about us. ... It's about whether we support regular order or not," Hensarling and Sessions wrote. "It's about whether members should have the prerogative to offer amendments or not. Ultimately, it's about whether a minority of our conference will find common cause with Democrats whenever we have an internal disagreement, use this uncommon discharge petition process, and force a vote when a majority of the majority does not want a vote."

Fincher has said that the petition follows regular order because he is a Republican who filed it.

The discharge petition process does not allow for lawmakers to offer amendments to legislation. That could prove a sticking point, because several key reform provisions were removed from the reauthorization bill ahead of Monday's expected House vote.

"It is always a difficult matter when Republicans don't see eye-to-eye on an issue," Hensarling and Sessions wrote. "But the strength of our Conference is that we commit to work together, as a team, to resolve our differences ourselves and resist the temptation to resort to gimmicks or strange bedfellows."

Conservatives oppose the bank's reauthorization, calling it easy money for large businesses such as Boeing. The business community, business-friendly Republicans and Democrats back the bank. They argue that it helps sustains jobs throughout the supply chain.

It's unclear whether the Senate will take up a separate Ex-Im reauthorization bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Reforms can stop members of Congress from using their public office for private gain Name change eludes DHS cyber wing, spurring frustration MORE (R-Ky.) has been reluctant to use much floor time on a bill, instead preferring to attach a reauthorization amendment to a federal transportation funding bill.