Politics

Who’s Afraid Of The Export-Import Bank Debate?

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor

I have resisted the urge to write about the Export-Import bank based on the predictable soporific effect it could have on our readers.

But if there were ever a time to write about it, that time might be now.

As Tim Carney explains:

House Republican leaders have released a proposal to keep funding government through the election, the so-called continuing resolution. The proposed CR includes a 6-month extension of the Export-Import Bank.

Because of this Ex-Im extension, Heritage Action, one of the most powerful lobbies for conservative policy, opposes extension. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the House Financial Services and the leading congressional opponent of Ex-Im, is okay with the deal. [Washington Examiner]

Shortly after Carney penned this, the Club for Growth announced they would key vote “no” on the CR, partly because “House GOP leadership has decided to extend the charter of the Export-Import Bank, despite making public statements calling for the Bank to expire.”

So who’s right? Carney sees this as a tactical disagreement, concluding: “I disagree with Heritage Action that a vote for the CR (thus punting an Ex-Im debate into next year) is an unconservative vote.”

He’s not alone. Grover Norquist, who also dislikes the Export-Import bank, was on my podcast yesterday to talk about Burning Man, and I also asked him about this. Here’s what he had to say:

“Well, I put out a statement the other day or an op-ed ‘Seven Reasons to get rid of the Ex-Im Bank.’ And I think we should make a goal out of phasing it out, ending as quickly as we can. [But] the idea of insisting that of all the stupid things the federal government does, this is the one we should focus all our energy on, and we have to do it Tuesday…this week.  I am quite not sure I follow the argument for that.

He continued,

I don’t know if it’s the hill to focus on right now. I think we should move as quickly and as rapidly as possible to do it. People have suggested in the past that certain tactics where the only way to handle things — and we had some belly flops in the past couple of years. And I am against belly flops.”

Listen to the whole thing here.

It’s unclear whether or not this fight will turn into a spectacle. My guess is that it won’t. But with Republicans hoping to win the Senate in November, one shouldn’t discount their penchant for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.