A new push from House Republican supporters of the Export-Import Bank could force a vote on the trade-financing agency’s revival during speaker John Boehner’s final weeks at the helm.
Stephen Fincher (R-Tennessee) on Wednesday began the process that would allow him to file a discharge petition that could bring the Ex-Im reauthorization bill to the House floor as early as next week.
“It’s time for Washington to get out of the way and quit killing American jobs. A vote to reform and reauthorize the Bank must be held immediately—too many jobs are on the line,” Fincher said in a statement. “We have no choice. We must get this done for the American people.”
Ex-Im, which aids U.S. exporters by loaning funds to foreign buyers, has been shut since July 1 when its charter expired after longtime critics from both sides—who consider it to be “corporate welfare”—successfully blocked a bill to reauthorize it. This means that while it can continue to service existing loans, it cannot offer new assistance.
Now, supporters are pushing to reopen the bank before Boehner leaves at the end of the month.
The Ohio Republican announced his resignation last Friday and if House majority leader and odds-on favorite Kevin McCarthy is named Speaker, Ex-Im stands little chance of restoration.
Speaking this week to Fox News, McCarthy said that he fought hard to shutter the bank and stressed that he will “continue to fight” to keep it closed.
But Fincher’s efforts to bring the legislation to the House floor before that are gaining steam. According to Politico, more than 30 Republicans have signed on to the discharge petition (at least a dozen more signatures from the side are expected) while the majority of Democrats are likely to support it, too.
If the petition is successful, an estimated 290 to 300 votes on the House floor will be required to reauthorize the bank.