House Speaker and Ohio Republican John Boehner shocked his GOP colleagues on Friday by announcing that he will leave his post and Congress at the end of October.
Following Boehner’s resignation, the Senate voted Monday to advance a bill that would prevent a government shutdown until mid-December, thereby affording lawmakers more time to cut deals on a wealth of legislative debates, including the re-opening of the Export-Import Bank.
The trade-financing agency, which provides funding to foreign buyers to buy U.S. exports, was shut down on July 1, meaning that while it can continue to service existing loans, it cannot offer new assistance.
But if House majority leader Kevin McCarthy of California succeeds Boehner, the chances of that changing any time soon are slim to none.
After McCarthy officially announced his bid for speaker on Monday, he told Fox News that he fought hard to shutter Ex-Im and that he will “continue to fight” to keep it closed.
Between 2007 and 2014, Ex-Im supported $230 billion in U.S. exports across 7,230 American exporters. And while the bank’s detractors are fond of pointing out that most of its financing covers exports by Boeing, Caterpillar and GE, nearly all of its transactions are with small and medium-sized companies.
Furthermore, supporters have stressed that providing financial assistance to larger exporters also sustains many small U.S. business that make up the supply chains of bigger firms.
But if the bank remains closed and companies can no longer access export financing, it could put many American jobs in danger.
GE, for instance, is moving 350 manufacturing jobs from Wisconsin to Canada, while Boeing said last month that it’s planning several hundred layoffs at its facility in El Segundo, California.
But the bank’s critics have refused to budge.
“While there’s no doubt some U.S. companies receive a benefit from Ex-Im, there’s also no doubt Ex-Im hurts other American companies and their workers,” Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) told the Los Angeles Times. “Where is the fairness in giving Washington politicians the power to pick who gets helped and who gets hurt?”