A Democrat-sponsored amendment to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank was defeated on a party-line vote 22 to 33 in the House Financial Services Committee on Friday.
The measure, which was introduced Thursday by Reps. Gwen Moore, Denny Heck, and Maxine Waters as an amendment to President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal, has been criticized by detractors as a form of insider “cronyism,” according to the Hill. (RELATED: Is the Export-Import Bank Done?)
The committee’s chairman, Republican Jeb Hensarling, has made no secret of his opposition to Ex-Im, frequently deriding the bank as “corporate welfare” as part of an effort to prevent Congress from reauthorizing the bank.
Hensarling and his allies nearly succeeded in killing the bank last year, but were ultimately forced to accept a compromise that keeps the bank in business until June 30, after which its charter will expire without further congressional action.
In his role as chairman, Hensarling has a great deal of influence over Ex-Im’s future, because any reauthorization bill must either pass out of the Financial Services Committee or be brought to the floor by House Speaker John Boehner, who has been circumspect about his position on the issue.
Indeed, the ongoing Ex-Im debate has divided Republicans, many of whom either support re-authorization or prefer reforming the bank to eliminating it outright.
“Understandably, this will put many of our Republican colleagues in a somewhat uncomfortable and precarious situation,” Moore spokesman Eric Harris told The Hill prior to the vote. (RELATED: Conservatives Split on Export-Import Bank)
The amendment, he explained, will force committee members to choose between a “senseless and irresponsible Tea Party platform” and supporting an agency that “promotes domestic job growth, levels the international playing field for American businesses, and creates greater access to the vital financing they need.”
A Republican staffer, on the other hand, told The Hill that Democrats had attempted a similar tactic last year, so “Our side totally anticipated this and was prepared.” (RELATED: Some ‘Beneficiaries’ of Ex-Im Oppose Reauthorization)
Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action, similarly predicted to The Daily Caller News Foundation that, “Although Republicans are inexplicably split on the issue, they aren’t going to take the bait on this cheap political stunt”—a prediction that was proven prescient by Friday’s vote.