Some House Republicans Aim to Force Ex-Im VoteOctober 7, 2015
A group of House Republicans—led by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.)—are attempting to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im) through a rare legislative procedural maneuver that would bypass the usual process of moving legislation through a committee to the House floor.
This past summer, Congress managed to shut down Ex-Im for the first time in its 81-year history. The Bank provides critical financing assistance – at no cost to taxpayers – to small, medium, and large-sized U.S. businesses that helps businesses to create jobs in the U.S. and sell their products overseas. In just three short months since the Bank shut down on June 30, companies across the country are already feeling negative impacts on their ability to compete in the global marketplace.
Rep. Fincher is in the process of collecting signatures for a discharge petition, which would force a vote on reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. The discharge petition, which requires 218 signatures, would allow for a bill reauthorizing Ex-Im to bypass the House Financial Services Committee and move directly to the House floor for a vote.
Other attempts to pass legislation to reauthorize Ex-Im in the House have been stalled due in part to the Bank’s powerful opponents—House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).
Despite their opposition, 60 Republicans signed onto legislation (H.R. 597) reauthorizing Ex-Im introduced by Rep. Fincher in January. Another bill (H.R. 3611) —also introduced by Rep. Fincher last week—reauthorizing the Bank has more than 44 Republican cosponsors. This measure is identical to the identical to the Export-Import Bank Reform and Reauthorization Act of 2015 (S. 819) as introduced on March 19 by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.). It would reauthorize the Bank for five-years while making Ex-Im’s practices more accountable and enhances taxpayer protections by requiring the Bank to become more solvent and self-sufficient.
In the past, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has supported the Bank, but has long believed that it should be worked out through regular order at the Financial Services Committee. Despite this sentiment, many are hopeful he will be willing to secure its reauthorization before he leaves Congress at the end of the month. Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), has said she was “optimistic” about Republicans’ efforts to gather enough signatures to move the petition forward, and she said her fellow Democrats would “join in.”