McConnell: I won’t block Ex-Im vote

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday he will not block a vote to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, despite his opposition to it.

{mosads}McConnell told USA Today he expects its reauthorization to pass, though he didn’t offer a timeline for when he will bring it to a vote. Lawmakers must vote to extend its charter by June 30, or the bank shuts down.

“I’m not a supporter of it. It’s become much more controversial in recent years,” McConnell added. “I think it probably enjoys a majority in the Senate, and I don’t think we should deny it the opportunity to be voted on.”

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced legislation that would reauthorize the bank through September 2019.

“This is good news from Leader McConnell and I hope we can get a vote on our bipartisan bill as soon as possible. I’ll keep pushing to make that happen,” Heitkamp told The Hill.

Republicans are divided on the issue, with many agreeing with Tea Party groups that the bank is a form of “crony capitalism” that only helps big businesses like Boeing.

While the Senate is expected to pass the reauthorization, it’s unclear if the House will follow suit.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is one of the bank’s most outspoken critics. He hasn’t said if he’ll move a bill through his panel, which has jurisdiction over the issue.

House leadership has also been tight-lipped about whether it would buck Hensarling and bring a bill to the floor if he doesn’t move one through his committee.

When asked if Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would have a vote on the bank’s reauthorization, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said, “At this point, our members, especially Chairman Hensarling and his committee, continue to have a discussion of the issue.”

Business groups argue that the bank supports millions of jobs nationwide.

Heitkamp said, “Reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank just makes sense for American small businesses and our economy.”

— This report was updated at 12:32 p.m.

Tags Boehner Heidi Heitkamp John Boehner Mark Kirk Mitch McConnell

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