Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) claimed a victory in the fight over reviving the Export-Import Bank Thursday, but he warned that the war against the “Washington Cartel” isn’t over.
“Today was a major win. Just one week ago, the Washington Cartel was certain that the Export-Import Bank — a quintessential example of cronyism and corporate welfare — would be reauthorized. The fix was in,” Cruz said in a statement. “And yet, after a long battle on the Senate floor, as Mark Twain might say, reports of Ex-Im’s revival were greatly exaggerated.”
Cruz made the comments after the Senate sent a three-month extension of federal highway funding to President Obama’s desk that did not include a reauthorization of the bank’s charter.
The Senate passed a six-year bill that did include a roughly four-year reauthorization of the bank. But that legislation is headed toward a conference committee with House lawmakers, who are more skeptical of the bank, later this year.
Cruz, who is running for president, has been vocally opposed to reauthorizing the bank, saying that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) lied about making a deal to allow a vote on the bank as part of an effort to get additional votes for a trade bill.
The Texas Republican said that McConnell denied to him that there was an agreement with Democrats, adding that
“the majority leader was visibly angry with me that I would ask him such a question.”
Cruz also praised his House colleagues for refusing to take up the Senate’s long-term bill, saying they “stood strong” and showed “strong leadership.”
But he added that proponents of the bank would try again to reauthorize the bank’s charter once they return to Washington in September, following Congress’s summer recess.
“This Fall, no doubt, the Washington Cartel will make yet another run at reviving Ex-Im,” he said. “But, if the House continues to demonstrate their courage of their convictions, together we will make permanent a major victory for hard-working taxpayers. No more cronyism.”
Cruz’s speech against McConnell launched a public battle between the Texas Republican and the Senate’s top Republican.
McConnell and his allies in the Senate lined up on the Senate floor during a rare Sunday session to take veiled and direct shots at Cruz.
McConnell appeared to take a closing shot at Cruz on Tuesday, saying, “I don’t know what one considers the definition of a deal, but we’ve been discussing quite openly for months that I would make it possible for the supporters of the Ex-Im Bank [to get a vote.]”