Tea Party groups unite against Export-Import

More than 50 conservative groups sent a letter to lawmakers on Monday urging them to not to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank.

Congress is grappling with whether to reauthorize the bank's charter, which is set to expire on June 30 unless Congress votes to extend it.

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The letter is perhaps the most cohesive effort to date on behalf of Tea Party groups in opposing the bank.

"Eliminating the Export-Import Bank would level the playing field and allow U.S. companies to compete for business on their merits rather than the strength of their political ties to the bank," the groups wrote in the letter, obtained first by The Hill.

Tea Party group Americans For Prosperity helped organize the letter, which was also signed by Americans For Tax Reform, the Club For Growth, Freedom Partners and FreedomWorks.

Other Republicans and Democrats — backed by a broad coalition in the business community — argue the Ex-Im helps support U.S. jobs by financing projects in emerging markets where the private sector won't act.

Not according to the Tea Party.

"America deserves an international trade policy that is based on free-market mechanisms, not paying foreign companies to buy exports from large corporations with political connections," the groups wrote.

Top administration officials, including national security adviser Susan Rice and Commerce Secretary Penny PritzkerPenny Sue PritzkerThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders steamrolls to South Carolina primary, Super Tuesday Biden's new campaign ad features Obama speech praising him Obama Commerce secretary backs Biden's 2020 bid MORE, are scheduled to speak later this week at the bank's annual conference in Washington.

Supporters of the bank have also sent high-profile messages. Earlier this month, thirty governors — 11 of them Republican — sent a letter to congressional leadership urging reauthorization.

And the U.S. business community has rallied behind the bank, uniting hundreds of small- and medium- sized businesses to argue to lawmakers that the bank helps sustain U.S. jobs throughout the country.

The bank's future is unclear because of the Republican division. GOP presidential candidates Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results GOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics MORE (Fla.), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses MORE (Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMcSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview Republican senators urge Trump to label West Bank goods as 'Made in Israel' MORE (Texas) each oppose the bank.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) also opposes the bank and he hasn't said if he will move a reauthorization bill through his panel, which has jurisdiction on the issue.

If he doesn't, House leadership could buck Hensarling and bring a bill right to the floor, upsetting the Tea Party along the way.