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Will Left Join Right to Kill Ex-Im Bank?

End the Ex-Im Bank

Conservatives in the House, led by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, have mounted a sustained campaign to kill the federal Export-Import Bank, one of the worst examples of Big Business – Big Government corporate welfare going.

This would seem to be a policy were conservative and liberal rhetoric against corporate welfare and cronyism would align, but that does not appear to be the case – at least at this point in the debate over the bank’s future.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said "The Export Bank is so very, very important to the country," and the Ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, California liberal Maxine Waters, told National Journal’s Billy House, “If, for some reason, the chairman [Hensarling] does not cooperate and participate in bringing forward a reauthorization, I do believe that the leadership would have to really take a look at how to get it done.”

In other words Democrats are asking the Republican leadership to roll one of the GOP’s own committee chairs to reauthorize a corporate welfare program.

When Eric Cantor was Majority Leader that looked like a strong possibility. Back in April Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, said he was working with Cantor “about moving forward on the Export-Import Bank.”

And the last Ex-Im Bank reauthorization vote drew no Democratic opposition. When the reauthorization passed the House 330-93 in 2012 all opposing votes were cast by Republicans.

But Cantor’s defeat in the Virginia Republican primary has breathed new life into the effort to kill the Ex-Im Bank.

Incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Speaker John Boehner have both indicated a preference for handling the reauthorization according to “regular order,” which is code for deferring to the wishes of the Committee Chairman. And McCarthy went so far as to observe on Fox News Sunday that the Ex-Im Bank's lending "is something government does not have to be involved in," adding, "The private sector can do it.”

What’s more, yesterday The Washington Examiner’s Susan Ferrechio reported that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was noncommittal on the reauthorization, even though the House overwhelmingly reauthorized the bank in 2012 and Republicans face pressure from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other Big Business groups who back the bank.

"Some people believe that we shouldn't have it at all, others believe that we should reauthorize it with significant reforms," Boehner said according to Ferrechio, describing the position of the members in his conference. "And we're going to work our way through this."

You would think that ending this blatant example of corporate welfare would be a no brainer for Democrats and liberals, like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, but so far the Left is MIA in this important fight against cronyism and corporate welfare.

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