Key players in the Export-Import Bank fight

The battle to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank has become a divisive issue within the Republican Party. 

Tea Party conservatives argued the 80-year-old bank, which finances international investments intended to increase U.S. exports, is a form of Washington corporate welfare in which favored interests get government help.

{mosads}But no less that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) argues the bank serves an important economic role in creating jobs through exports. He’s argued that its charter should be extended before a June 30 deadline.

Democrats looking to force a vote on a reauthorization bill agree with Boehner, as do many pro-business Republicans.

On K Street, the business community has lobbied heavily to extend to the bank’s charter. That’s set up a lobbying fight between titans like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) versus GOP donors Charles and David Koch’s political organization, as well as like Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity.

Ex-Im’s fate will be decided in the next two months.

Here are the key players:

Speaker John Boehner

The business community is pressuring Boehner to hold a House vote on Ex-Im, but that would mean bucking the Tea Party.

Boehner told reporters earlier this week that “there are thousands of jobs on the line that would disappear pretty quickly” if Ex-Im is not renewed.

Supporters of the bank interpreted the comments as an effort to pressure conservatives to compromise, especially since Boehner said he would support a plan that reformed the bank.

Senate Majorty Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Despite his own personal opposition to the bank, McConnell said last month that he would not block a vote on its reauthorization.

McConnell said he believed the Senate would vote to renew the bank if it was put to a vote.

“I’m not a supporter of it. It’s become much more controversial in recent years,” McConnell told USA Today.

“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.” 

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) 

Hensarling is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee that has jurisdiction over the bank, and he is a hard-line opponent of it.

Hensarling argues that the bank crushes competition and puts taxpayers on the hook.

If he doesn’t move a bill through his panel, he will force Boehner to decide whether to bring a bill straight to the floor.

Hensarling said last month that the majority of Republicans on his committee oppose the bank. 

“I know neither of a Republican or a Democrat chairman of the House Financial Services Committee that has ever put forth a bill that was not supported by a majority of the majority,” he said.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

The business community didn’t want to believe its ears when McCarthy, just after he was named GOP leader, said he opposed Ex-Im. At the time, McCarthy needed to bolster his support on the right.

Last week, he doubled-down on his criticism. 

“I think that is a view that I have, yes, and I said it hasn’t changed,” McCarthy told reporters when asked if still is against the bank. 

President Obama

The Obama administration has been adamant in its support for the bank.

It’s a reversal for Obama, who said during the 2008 campaign that the bank was “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.”

Democrats’ support has also created some unusual political alliances.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on Hensarling’s panel, acknowledged it might be strange that she’s on the side of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“If Maxine Waters can work with the Chamber and the manufacturers that sometimes she’s not always gotten along with — then everybody should be able to do it,” she said.

Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats are nearly all behind the bank’s reauthorization.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) teamed up with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to introduce a reauthorization bill for the bank that includes reforms. 

Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.)

Fincher is a Tea Party Republican who support reauthorizing the bank while reforming its structure.

His reauthorization bill would overturn requirements that restrict the bank from financing some projects in countries that don’t adopt greener technology standards.

Fincher’s provisions are championed by the coal industry but opposed by progressive environmentalists. The coal issue could prove a contentious sticking point in the negotiation process.

Democratic presidential candidates

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, is a champion of the bank.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has long criticized the bank and voted against reauthorizing it last year. 

GOP presidential candidates

Most top-tier Republican presidential hopefuls oppose the bank, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), former Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and former-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who are all also considering 2016 runs, support the bank.




Tags Export-Import Bank Jeb Hensarling John Boehner Marco Rubio Mitch McConnell Rand Paul Ted Cruz

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video