Discharge Petition In The House Forces Vote On Ex-Im Bank

Juliegrace Brufke | Capitol Hill Reporter

Using a rare measure to sidestep leadership, 62 Republicans teamed up with 142 Democrats Monday to force a vote on the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank in the House.

The discharge petition, spearheaded by Tennessee Republican [crscore]Stephen Fincher[/crscore], set up a vote Tuesday to revive the federal agency — which provides low-interest, taxpayer-backed financing to foreign companies purchasing American goods — whose charter expired in July.

Proponents of the Ex-Im Bank say it’s needed to promote trade and remain globally competitive, while critics say it’s a form of crony capitalism and feel private-sector banks are capable of filling the void.

The measure doesn’t allow for amendments or require a rule to bring it to a vote.

Several Republicans spoke out against using the unprecedented method, including Financial Services Committee Chairman [crscore]Jeb Hensarling[/crscore] of Texas, saying it gives the minority power and undermines the party during a time of chaos.

“I respect my colleagues who believe ExIm is essential economic development, just as I respect those who believe ExIm is unfair and harmful corporate welfare,” Hensarling said in a statement earlier this month. “But I hope all Republicans, regardless of their stand on this one issue, will recognize that signing a discharge petition sets a very serious, very dangerous precedent for our Republican majority that goes far beyond ExIm.”

Fincher argued that allowing the bank’s charter to expire cost the country jobs.

“The House Financial Services Committee’s refusal to negotiate this bill for more than a year has been heartbreaking. American job creators deserve an up or down vote on the Ex-Im Bank,” Fincher said in a statement. “Those opposed to the discharge process claim that this tool is designed to be used exclusively by the minority. That’s simply not true. This is a Republican-led discharge petition that follows regular order and gives individual Members a path forward when a committee fails to act.”

It is unclear whether the bill will be brought to the floor in the upper chamber if it passes the House tomorrow.

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