Club for Growth withdraws key vote on stopgap spending bill

The conservative group Club for Growth said Wednesday that it is pulling its key vote on the $1 trillion stopgap-spending bill because the vote will largely be driven by foreign policy.

GOP lawmakers have attached an amendment to the bill authorizing funds and training for moderate Syrian rebel groups to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with a vote expected Wednesday.


“While we remain strongly opposed to the CR [continuing resolution] and to the language extending the charter of the Export-Import Bank (among other things), the addition of the ISIS language does not make this a revealing vote about economic policy,” said Andy Roth, the group's vice president, in a note to lawmakers. “Instead, it will be largely driven by foreign policy, something the Club for Growth does not take an official position on.”

Club for Growth, a week ago, urged lawmakers to oppose the continuing resolution because the group opposes the measure’s temporary extension of the Export-Import Bank through the end of June. 

Republicans had been wary about reauthorizing Ex-Im’s charter, which expires Sept. 30. Tea Party groups oppose the bank, which they criticize as “crony capitalism,” while supporters say it helps open new markets for U.S. goods. House GOP leaders and Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), however, expressed support for the nine-month extension.

But over the last week, the extension became a side issue following President Obama’s request to include a measure in the spending bill to authorize the equipping and training of Syrian rebels. The Syria measure became the bill’s most controversial component.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the authorization on Wednesday afternoon. 

Heritage Action, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, also announced last week it would include the spending bill on its legislative scorecard.

Despite Club for Growth’s decision, Heritage Action won’t be withdrawing its key vote, communications director Dan Holler told The Hill Wednesday.

“By combining the Syria language with the CR, the House is engaging in what [Rep.] Brad Sherman [D-Calif.] called the ‘sneakiest of all maneuvers.’ Heritage Action opposes the underlying policy in the CR, which includes the 9-month extension of corporate welfare, and the cynical process used by House leaders,” he said in an email.

Conservative groups often hold key votes on major spending bills, including last year, when they influenced Republicans to shut down the government in an effort to defund ObamaCare.

The amendment to authorize the Syrian rebel program and the spending bill are both expected to pass the House Wednesday.