A conservative group is thanking House Republicans who spurned a bid by centrist GOP members and nearly all Democrats to force a vote to revive the Export-Import Bank, an obscure credit agency that is slowly dying off amid conservative complains it handed out “corporate welfare” for far too long.
Freedom Partners encouraged the members to reject the bank once again, when a bill to renew its charter comes to the floor, likely on Oct. 26.
Although powerful Republicans oppose the bank — including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the front-runner to become the next speaker — a pack of 42 Republicans teamed with 176 Democrats in signing a discharge petition, a rarely used vehicle to force issues onto the floor.
The move enraged Mr. Hensarling and top conservative groups, who say the GOP effectively handed control of the chamber to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her troops.
“American taxpayers are likely to conclude that the members of Congress who support this blatant example of corporate welfare are not the legislators needed to make the truly tough decisions involving entitlement spending and tax reform,” Freedom Partners President Marc Short said in a letter to Republicans who ignored the effort. “As an organization that supports a free marketplace with open and fair competition for all, we greatly appreciate your decision to not sign the Ex-Im discharge petition.”
The petition’s GOP backers say they did the responsible thing by moving to revive the bank, which finances the sale of U.S. goods overseas, after intra-party negotiations failed.
Previously, the Senate voted on a bipartisan basis to revive the bank as part of a highway bill, giving House sponsors hope that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, will take it up once more and send it to President Obama, who supports the bank.