Ex-Im supporters shift their strategy

Supporters of the Export-Import Bank are shifting their strategy and pushing for a short-term extension of the bank’s charter.

Talk of a long-term extension, which the bank’s backers had previously sought, is dead for the immediate future, multiple sources working on the reauthorization effort told The Hill.

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Instead, Ex-Im supporters want a short-term reauthorization that coincides with the same period of time as the continuing resolution (CR), which Congress must approve before Sept. 30 to prevent a government shutdown.

The bank’s charter also expires on Sept. 30.

The bank’s critics are looking to offer a longer-term reauthorization deal that would extend Ex-Im into early next year. But supporters view this ploy as a political Trojan horse.

“A short term CR that leaves Ex-Im hanging out on its own into 2015 is a death knell for the bank,” said a former senior Ex-Im official who is working to reauthorize the bank. “This is the Tea Party’s alternative to killing it now strategy: Put it on life support into 2015 then kill it altogether.”

A senior Ex-Im official who is working on the reauthorization said that the negotiations are now at “the member level” and that supporters are focused on members of the Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate.

Ex-Im supporters have lined-up meetings with Democratic members this week urging them not to get onboard with any Ex-Im deal that isn't time with the CR.

With Congress returning to Washington this week, Ex-Im’s Tea Party critics have also stepped up their efforts to kill the bank, which they view as "corporate welfare" designed to prop-up big businesses like Boeing, which receive one-third of the Bank's total loan commitments between 2007 and 2013, according to a recent Standard & Poor's Rating Services report.

 Two conservative groups in a Monday letter urged House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) not to reauthorize it.

Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham and Club For Growth President Chris Chocola urged McCarthy to stand by comments he made in June opposing the bank’s reauthorization.

“[W]e hope you will stand strong and work with conservatives in Congress and across the country in letting the bank expire,” Needham and Chocola wrote.

Heritage Action announced Monday it will include any vote on Ex-Im reauthorization — as a standalone measure or attached to another piece of legislation — in its legislative scorecard.

“We see no reason why the Majority Leader’s June position won’t prevail," Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler said.