Bloomberg News Service report
WASHINGTON (Oct. 5, 2015) — A Republican House member pushing to renew the U.S. Export-Import bank may have enough support to force a vote later this month over a party leader's opposition.
Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee is counting on the support of most, if not all, of the more than 40 Republicans who signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation he introduced, his spokeswoman, Logan Ramsey, said on Oct. 1. Mr. Fincher needs at least 30 Republicans to back his effort if all 188 Democrats support the push to bring a reauthorization bill to the House floor.
Mr. Fincher began the push Sept. 30 to reauthorize the bank, whose charter expired June 30, saying in an interview he was “very confident” he would get enough backing. Supporters of Ex- Im say that letting the bank's authorization lapse puts U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage in the global market, a trend some firms have already started to flag.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, the leading candidate for the job of speaker of the House soon to be vacated by John Boehner, is “strongly” discouraging lawmakers from signing on to a fellow Republican's effort to force a vote to revive the U.S. Export-Import Bank, his spokesman said.
“Because this petition would circumvent the committee process, McCarthy strongly discourages the participation of any such effort and remains firmly opposed to the Ex-Im bank,” said Matt Sparks, a spokesman for Mr. McCarthy, in an email Oct. 1.
Mr. Fincher's procedural maneuver is an attempt to bypass the usual process of moving legislation through a committee to the House floor. Other attempts to pass legislation to reauthorize the bank have been stymied by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who opposes the bank.
Mr. Fincher's effort sets up an intraparty dispute on the future of the 81-year-old bank, which provides loans, insurance and other support to help U.S. companies such as Boeing Co. and General Electric Co. make sales to overseas customers. Mr. Hensarling and other Republicans who oppose the bank say it mostly helps big corporations that don't need government assistance.
Because it's too early to collect signatures to force a House vote on the bank's revival, Ms. Ramsey said Mr. Fincher's office doesn't have an official tally of Republicans who back the effort. The earliest a House reauthorization vote could occur is Oct. 21, she said.
The Republican-controlled Senate voted in July to extend the Ex-Im bank through September 2019 in an amendment added to a highway-funding bill that hasn't been taken up in the House.