It’s been a topic of discussion on this website for about a year, but those who believe the Export-Import Bank of the United States is simply a hotbed for crony capitalism and a classic example of government picking winners and losers restored a supporter in Andy Harris.
From our friends at Heritage Action:
Over the past month, momentum has grown for allowing the Export-Import Bank to expire. It is now clear the bank will not be reauthorized by June 30th. Additionally, conservatives leaders and caucuses will fight any efforts to revive the bank, which is a slush fund for the government to pick favorites and give taxpayer dollars to a handful of well-connected special interests. Last month, the 170-member Republican Study Committee joined the 40-member House Freedom Caucus in official opposition to the bank. They are joined by the House Majority Leader, Majority Whip and eight prominent chairmen. What’s more, Senator Mike Lee made clear conservatives will (use the) procedural tools available to ensure a reauthorization effort is not on autopilot and will entail a lot of floor time.
Indeed, Harris is on the Heritage Action list. But his opposition is nothing new as he voted against Ex-Im’s last reauthorization in 2012. That was a rather lonely position as Andy was one of only 93 members (all Republicans) to say no to Ex-Im.
But that’s not to say that Ex-Im is dead by any means. Giving it new life could be one of those items attached to a “must-pass” bill, as Kathleen Miller at Bloomberg notes:
In the House, Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said he won’t let the bank’s reauthorization be attached to a measure that would speed consideration of trade agreements.
“Ex-Im Bank will not be included in any of these trade deals,” Ryan, who opposes the bank, said last week. “We are not doing that.”
That leaves supporters searching for must-pass legislation to carry the reauthorization, something that Ex-Im opponents would be reluctant to vote against even if it means extending the bank’s charter.
Or the reauthorization may be used as a wedge issue by factions in either party to extract concessions. Like any government program, Ex-Im has had its demise predicted before only to survive unscathed, like a cockroach after nuclear holocaust.
I’ll believe it’s dead when I see its lifeless corpse.
By the way, I reached out to Harris’s primary opponent, former Delegate Mike Smigiel, but he did not reply to my inquiry.