John Boehner: Going to ‘work our way’ through Export-Import Bank talks

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Speaker John A. Boehner did not commit Tuesday to supporting a reauthorization of the 80-year-old Export-Import Bank, saying his job is to work with members to get them to a place on the hot-button issue where they are comfortable.

Mr. Boehner referred to ongoing discussions about the bank, whose authorization is set to expire at the end of September, and a hearing on the subject Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican.

“After that, I’m looking forward to the chairman outlining how we’re going to deal with this rather controversial subject, especially in light of some of the employees who were let go who were accused of kickbacks and other schemes to pad their own pockets,” said Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the bank has suspended or removed several officials in recent months amid allegations of kickbacks and gifts. The bank, which provides loans in an effort to boost U.S. exports, has also drawn the ire of conservative lawmakers who liken it to corporate welfare.

Tuesday’s media availability with Mr. Boehner and members of the House Republican leadership team was the first press conference in which leaders lay out the party’s weekly agenda since the caucus elected new leaders last Thursday. Majority-Leader elect Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip-elect Steve Scalise of Louisiana were both in attendance, while outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia was not.

Mr. McCarthy will officially become majority leader after Mr. Cantor steps down from the post at the end of July.

Asked about his support for re-authorizing the bank in the past, Mr. Boehner said he now has a different job than he had then.

“My job is to work with our members to get to a place where the members are comfortable,” he said. “Some people believe that we shouldn’t have it at all; others believe that we should re-authorize it with significant reforms and we’re going to work our way through this.”

House Democrats are getting behind legislation that would extend the bank’s charter for seven years with $175 billion to spend on boosting exports by some of the countries biggest companies, including Boeing, Caterpillar and GE.

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