Conservative groups oppose Export-Import Bank lifeline

Conservative groups oppose Export-Import Bank lifeline
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Three dozen conservative groups on Friday urged Republican leaders in Congress to reject efforts to restore the Export-Import Bank to full power using a stopgap spending bill.

Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity spearheaded a letter urging top lawmakers to oppose a push by congressional supporters to ease the quorum requirement for the 82-year-old agency in a continuing resolution under consideration.

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“We have significant concerns on the procedure,” the groups said in the letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDems fight to protect Mueller amid Rosenstein rumors Jordan wants Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee Kamala Harris calls for Senate to protect Mueller probe as Rosenstein faces potential dismissal MORE (R-Wis.). 

"Attaching this quorum change to a continuing resolution is the latest in a line of efforts that subvert congressional processes,” the groups wrote.

Republican and Democratic supporters of the bank are urging congressional leaders to attach a provision to the spending measure that would reduce for three years the number of people needed for the Ex-Im board to approve loans of more than $10 million.

The temporary change would reduce the requirement to two from three on the five-member board.

“This would make it easier for the agency to make risky, taxpayer-backed loans to big businesses and foreign corporations,” the groups which include Club for Growth, Heritage Action and Freedom Works, wrote. 

Supporters of approving the provision — added to Senate and House spending bills but Republican lawmakers — say this is the only way to provide Ex-Im with a lifeline because Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has refused to consider a nominee that would give the board a quorum. 

“This provision would subvert the Senate approval process for board members of the Export-Import Bank and set a concerning precedent for future accountability," they wrote.

Without a change, Ex-Im officials say more than 30 transactions worth more than $20 billion will remain stuck in the pipeline.

In January, President Obama nominated Mark McWatters, a Republican who once worked for House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

Congress is aiming to pass a short-term spending bill before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.