- The Washington Times - Monday, June 23, 2014

The White House prodded skeptical House Republican leaders to reauthorize the Export-Import Banks, noting that conservative icon President Ronald Reagan backed the program that supports American exports.

House conservatives, including incoming Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have said they are ready to let the bank go out of business when its charter expires in the fall.

White House Press Secretary Joshua Earnest told reporters that President Reagan supported renewal of the bank in 1986 and called it “needed leverage for use in negotiations to eliminate predatory financing practices,” the Hill reported.

“I can imagine that the incoming majority leader might discount a little bit what I have to say, but I’d be surprised if he discounted President Reagan’s view on this,” added Mr. Earnest.

He said President Obama “strongly supports” re-authorization.

“The Ex-Im Bank helps American companies create and support jobs here at home at no cost to taxpayers,” Mr. Earnest said.

Mr. McCarthy, a California Republican who takes over as majority leader next month, said Sunday that taxpayer support of exports should come to an end. The view that the bank provides a form of corporate welfare is shared by conservatives.

But other Republicans and business groups support the bank as a way to level the playing field with other countries that support exports.

Earlier Monday, 42 House Republicans signed a letter in support of reauthorizing the bank.

“We believe that Congress should move forward with a multi-year re-authorization of Ex-Im that provides certainty and stability for U.S. manufacturers and exporters of all sizes,” it said.