Outside conservative groups look to kill government funding bill

Outside conservative groups are lining up against the House Republican plan to avoid a government shutdown.

Two prominent outside groups are urging GOP lawmakers to vote against a $1.1 trillion continuing resolution that would fund the government beyond Sept. 30, arguing the measure includes harmful provisions extending the life of the Export-Import Bank.

Heritage Action, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation, said in a statement Wednesday that it would includes votes on the CR on its legislative scorecard. A few hours later, Club for Growth followed suit, urging lawmakers to kill the bill.

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The measure, unveiled Tuesday, would keep the government operating until Dec. 11, but it also includes a provision that would extend the Ex-Im Bank for nine months.

Making a vote on funding the government a key vote for the two groups could up pressure on Republicans to oppose a measure their leaders introduced less than 24 hours ago. If Congress fails to pass a funding measure by Sept. 30, the nation is in danger of facing a second shutdown in as many years.

The funding measure was not expected to face significant trouble earning passage, as neither party has been particularly eager to drag out fiscal drama with just weeks to go before the midterm election.

But Democrats are pushing for a longer authorization for the Ex-Im Bank, which provides loans to buyers of U.S. exports, as well as other provisions. And conservative Republicans could balk at the short length of the funding extension, as well as the inclusion of Ex-Im.

The bank’s charter is set to expire on Sept. 30, and debate over extending it has led to a sharp split between conservative Republicans and more business-friendly members of the party. Conservatives inside and outside Congress have made killing the bank a top priority in recent months, arguing it amounts to government-run crony capitalism and has no place in the private market.

But major business groups have mobilized to save it, saying it provides critical support to help American companies compete with foreign counterparts across the globe.

Lawmakers siding with business group got a reprieve Tuesday, when the funding resolution was introduced and included the Ex-Im extension, which would keep it operating into June.

On Monday, the groups wrote to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), urging him to oppose an Ex-Im extension, and stand by comments he made in June in opposition to the bank’s continued existence.

This post updated at 2:01 pm.