White House, McConnell come out against House bill on Ex-Im Bank

Greg Nash

The White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday announced their opposition to a Democratic bill to fund and reform the Export-Import Bank.

In a statement, the White House budget office said it would recommend that President Trump veto a Democratic measure set to pass the House on Friday. 

“The Administration is committed to the long-term reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank,” said the White House budget office. “[The House bill], however, does not represent the type of bipartisan, bicameral approach needed to appropriately accomplish that goal.”{mosads}

The announcement came just hours after McConnell told Politico that he would not take up the House bill anyway, effectively dooming the measure. 

“We’re not going to pass the House bill,” McConnell told Politico, adding that the Senate would prefer to maintain funding for the Ex-Im Bank through a larger government spending bill.

A spokesman for McConnell confirmed the majority leader’s opposition in an email to The Hill.

The Ex-Im Bank seeks to support U.S. manufacturers by extending loans to foreign countries and businesses so they can purchase American products. The bank operated largely without controversy from its opening in 1934 until 2015, when conservative lawmakers shut it down temporarily by blocking its funding.

Funding for the Ex-Im Bank — along with wide swaths of the federal government — is set to expire again on Nov. 21. Lawmakers are expected to stave off a shutdown at least until mid-December, but have struggled to strike a deal on broad structural changes for the Ex-Im Bank.

The leaders of the House Financial Services Committee agreed to a bipartisan bill earlier this year that would fund the Ex-Im Bank for ten years, raise its lending limits and impose some curbs on lending to China. But the deal between Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) fell apart in June over Democratic concerns over provisions on China and fossil fuels.

Waters introduced a new version of the Ex-Im bill in October intended to assuage her caucus’ concerns, but the changes cost her Republican support for the measure.

“The bill that we’re marking up today will not become law,” McHenry said, warning that Trump and McConnell would not take up a bill backed only by Democrats. “I support keeping the bank open. I don’t support this endeavor today.”

The Financial Services panel cleared the bill on a thin partisan margin, and the full House is expected to cast a similar vote to pass the measure Friday. 

Updated 2:17 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Export–Import Bank Maxine Waters Mitch McConnell Patrick McHenry
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