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09.11.2014 0

The unsinkable Export Import Bank

Anti Ecport-Import BankBy Robert Romano

On June 22, Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace asked newly minted House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) if he “would allow the Ex-Im Bank to expire in September?”

“Yes, because it’s something the private sector can be able to do,” McCarthy said at the time.

Ahead of the June 18 House leadership elections necessitated by the defeat of former Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) by Dave Brat in the Republican primary in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, McCarthy even promised members not to move the Export Import Bank’s reauthorization.

Both of those comments led many observers to conclude that the $27 billion a year bank’s days were numbered. House Republicans were going to allow its reauthorization to lapse at the end of September.

Right?

Wrong. It didn’t take very long, but moving is exactly what the reauthorization is doing now. A new continuing resolution revealed by House Republicans would extend the bank’s authority through June 30, 2015.

The argument for including the bank’s months-long reauthorization in the continuing resolution as a rider is none other than to “prevent” a government shutdown.

That, if the bank were not included, Harry Reid would just pass a full 5-year reauthorization in his version of the continuing resolution, and then that would pass the House — because it remains unwilling to shut down the government over the issue — and the bank would live on.

But what makes anyone believe that Reid won’t just do the same exact thing with the 9-month reauthorization?

Reid already knows that Republicans are unwilling to shut down the government over the bank’s fate.

So why would kicking the issue out to 2015, when he may no longer control the Senate, be in Reid’s interest? All he has to do is wait out House Republicans who dare not shut down the government to get the continuing resolution he really wants. This gives Reid all the leverage he needs.

The irony is that the bank’s reauthorization has nothing to with spending for fiscal year 2015. It is not an annual spending measure, but an agency that typically comes up every five years for renewal.

Republicans could have passed a so-called “clean” continuing resolution — something Democrats have said they want — without any riders at all. And, then, left the bank’s reauthorization up to separate legislation.

But, no. House leaders had to include in the continuing resolution. Now, as a result, the bank’s renewal is all but certain.

Good job.

All they had to do was not reauthorize the bank, and let Reid explain why he doesn’t support a “clean” continuing resolution, and it was gone. If they could only stand firm.

Perhaps I am wrong. But the only conceivable way it doesn’t go down this way is if Reid gives Republicans the political equivalent of an act of charity, and passes the House continuing resolution with its 9-month bank reauthorization.

But why would Reid do that? He can get 100 percent of what he wants just by blaming Republicans for threatening a government shutdown. Stay tuned. You can already hear the cheap tent folding.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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