Boehner backs reforming Ex-Im, or winding it down
© Francis Rivera

Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock From learning on his feet to policy director MORE (R-Ohio) said Thursday that "thousands of jobs" would be lost if Congress doesn't reauthorize the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, but he added he would also back a plan to "wind it down."

Boehner implied that Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) would only produce a bill worth backing.

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"Listen, I support any plan that the chairman can get through his committee, whether it would reform the bank, wind it down," Boehner said. "But there are thousands of jobs on the line that would disappear pretty quickly if the Ex-Im Bank were to disappear."

Boehner said he has urged Hensarling to devise a plan to deal with the bank, whose charter expires at the end of June.

"The risk is that, if he does nothing, the Senate is likely to act, and then what?" the Speaker asked.

Boehner's top lieutenants, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), have both said Congress should let the bank expire, arguing the institution's loans to wealthy firms amount to "corporate welfare."

Ex-Im’s chairman and president, Fred Hochberg, has pleaded with lawmakers to reauthorize the 80-year-old bank, arguing that thousands of American jobs are on the line.

Allowing the bank to expire "continues to be a concern" for the Obama administration, press secretary Josh Earnest said after Boehner made his comments.

“We are going to strongly push Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to work together on how to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank," he said.

And House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) tweeted: "Pleased to see @SpeakerBoehner is concerned about jobs that would be lost if @EximBankUS expires. Hope he lets House vote to reauth the Bank."

— Jordan Fabian contributed. Updated at 3:12 p.m.