Tags: house | votes | revive | ex-im | bank

House Votes to Revive Ex-Im Bank

Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015 08:09 PM

The House voted to renew the U.S. Export- Import Bank in a bipartisan effort that overcame opposition from conservatives who have blocked the bank from financing companies’ overseas sales for almost four months.

The 313-118 House vote Tuesday would extend the bank’s charter through September 2019. The legislation moves to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who opposes the bank, said he won’t allow a vote on the bill. He left the door open to reauthorizing the bank as an amendment to a separate highway bill.

The Ex-Im Bank provides loans to overseas customers of U.S. companies such as Boeing Co. and General Electric Co. The 81- year-old institution’s charter expired June 30, and it has since been unable to approve new requests for financial assistance.

The bank has divided Republican lawmakers, with some -- including House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas -- calling it corporate welfare for big companies that don’t need government assistance. Other Republicans say it helps U.S. businesses create jobs.

Republican Paul Ryan, set to become House speaker in two days, denounced the bank as "crony capitalism" in a floor speech before the vote.

"I think there are plenty of other ways to expand opportunity in this country, and corporate welfare is not one of them," said Ryan of Wisconsin.

The vote is a loss for Hensarling, who had said he didn’t bring up the measure in his committee because most Republicans opposed it. As it turned out, 127 Republicans voted for the bill while 117 opposed it. Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida was the only member of his party to vote against the measure.

Odd Couple

An odd-couple pairing of Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking House Democrat, and Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher, out-maneuvered top House Republicans to force the vote to reauthorize the bank. The two used a rare procedure known as a discharge petition to bring the bill, H.R. 597, to the floor and bypass Hensarling’s committee.

The effort shows Americans "that Congress can work together, Democrats and Republicans, to get something done that helps businesses and workers compete and create jobs," Hoyer said on the House floor Monday.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California also opposes the bank, while outgoing Speaker John Boehner of Ohio has said he worries the demise of Ex-Im will cause job losses.

QuickTake: U.S. Export-Import Bank

The fight over the bank’s future also has divided Republican-friendly organizations. The conservative Heritage Action for America opposes reopening the bank, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fought to reauthorize it.

Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Boeing’s home state of Illinois, faulted the Financial Services panel for failing to resolve the dispute over the bank’s future.

"None of us celebrate being here right now as Republicans," Kinzinger said on the House floor Monday during debate over the discharge petition. "The opponents of reauthorization live in a world where the politics of purity trumps the realism of today and of economics. Here is the reality: In my district, thousands of jobs, millions of dollars of exports and many, many people rely on this being reauthorized."

During the past few months, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE has announced plans to shift hundreds of U.S. jobs to other countries, tying the decision to the lapse of the Ex-Im Bank.

‘Jobs, Jobs’

"The Export-Import Bank is about three things in this country that we need to be debating here more often and that is jobs, jobs and jobs," said Democratic Representative Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, where GE recently announced plans to end some manufacturing work and move jobs to Canada. "Our workers and our businesses should not have to wait one more day to reignite this powerful engine of job creation."

In July, the Senate showed overwhelming support for the bank when it voted 64-29 to include bipartisan language crafted by North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and Illinois Republican Mark Kirk to revive Ex-Im as part of a long-term highway funding package. The House didn’t take up the highway bill at the time, though lawmakers will be working on one in the coming weeks.

"This momentum is going to be hard to ignore," Heitkamp said in an interview Tuesday at the Capitol. "We have very large majorities in both houses that are supportive of the Ex-Im bank." 

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said Monday that some Republicans in his chamber were weighing a new effort to reauthorize and revise the bank that would have "more teeth."

If that plan succeeds, it could again delay or jeopardize the push to revive the bank because the House and Senate would need to work out a compromise between the two pieces of legislation.

That "would be a big, big mistake," Heitkamp said. "Their time to make those arguments about a different bill has passed."


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The House voted to renew the U.S. Export- Import Bank in a bipartisan effort that overcame opposition from conservatives who have blocked the bank from financing companies' overseas sales for almost four months. The 313-118 House vote Tuesday would extend the bank's charter...
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2015-09-27
Tuesday, 27 Oct 2015 08:09 PM
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