Boehner: I denied Dem's request on Ex-Im vote

Boehner: I denied Dem's request on Ex-Im vote
© Greg Nash

Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg courts critics on Capitol Hill | Amazon makes climate pledge | Senate panel approves 0M for state election security Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers to discuss 'future internet regulation' MORE (D-Wash.) reached out to Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerBoehner reveals portrait done by George W. Bush Meadows to be replaced by Biggs as Freedom Caucus leader Scaramucci compares Trump to Jonestown cult leader: 'It's like a hostage crisis inside the White House' MORE, the Ohio Republican said Thursday, asking him to give his word the House would soon hold a vote to reauthorize the expiring Export-Import Bank.

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No way, Boehner told her.

“She has contacted me and I told her I would not make that commitment,” Boehner said at a news conference.

A group of Democrats led by Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) had been holding up a major trade bill in the Senate, demanding that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promise to allow a vote to renew the Ex-Im Bank before its charter expires at the end of June.

After McConnell made the commitment on Ex-Im Thursday, Cantwell and other pro-trade Democrats voted to advance the trade legislation past a key procedural hurdle — setting up a final vote.

Asked why McConnell made the commitment but Boehner chose not to, the Speaker said their differences are “nothing new.”

“I have my issues in my chamber; he has his issues in his chamber,” Boehner said. “I’ve got 435 members who have their opinions, and he has 100 members who have their opinions.”

The Speaker supports reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, but his top two deputies — Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) — do not.

Boehner said he’s recently spoken about the bank to Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), an Ex-Im opponent whose panel oversees the institution.

Hensarling said in a statement that "leadership has committed the House to regular order, which is a fair process."

“We will have to see what, if anything, the Senate does. But momentum in the House is clearly in favor of those of us who do not wish to reauthorize Ex-Im," Hensarling said. "Momentum is in our favor because ultimately the American people do not want to have their tax dollars supporting this corporate giveaway program."
 
A bill to reauthorize the bank could make it to the House floor, but it would be subject to amendments — including those from conservative opponents like Hensarling who want to kill it outright.

“The only commitment I’ve made is to Chairman Hensarling that if the Senate sent a bill over, that there would be an open-amendment process and the House would be allowed to work its will,” Boehner said.

“That is the only commitment that has been made.”

Kevin Cirilli contributed to this story.

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m.