McCarthy would hand Ex-Im Bank to Hensarling as leader

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTrump officially makes Richard Grenell acting intelligence chief Overnight Energy: Trump signs order to divert water to California farmers | EPA proposes new rollback to Obama coal ash rules | Green group ranks Bloomberg, Klobuchar last in climate plans Trump signs order diverting water to California farmers against state wishes MORE (R-Calif.) said Wednesday he would defer to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb HensarlingThomas (Jeb) Jeb HensarlingLawmakers battle over future of Ex-Im Bank House passes Ex-Im Bank reboot bill opposed by White House, McConnell Has Congress lost the ability or the will to pass a unanimous bipartisan small business bill? MORE (R-Texas) on the Export-Import Bank if made majority leader.

The commitment is a blow to the fate of the bank, which has served as a key point of contention between establishment Republicans and their more conservative counterparts. Hensarling has been a vocal advocate of killing the bank, which expires at the end of September, calling it "crony capitalism" committed by the fedreal government.

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On Wednesday morning, McCarthy met with his fellow Republican lawmakers behind closed doors to discuss his bid to replace Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as Majority Leader. He appeared alongside other GOP lawmakers vying for a new leadership spot after Cantor's surprising primary defeat upended the House Republican power structure.

There, McCarthy told lawmakers that he would defer to Hensarling, who chairs the committee with jurisdiction over the bank, on what to do with it.

Cantor too had said he was deferring to Hensarling on the bank, but his defeat was seen as a blow to business interests eager to see it renewed. Cantor was widely seen as an ally of the business community, and helped broker a deal to extend the bank the last time it was due to expire.

Cristina Marcos and Russell Berman contributed to this report.