Conservatives Warn Against Resuscitating Ex-Im Bank, Cruz Leaves Filibuster Door Open

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden addresses the annual conference of the Export-Import Bank April 5, 2013 in Washington, DC. The conference brings together companies from around the world to meet U.S. exporters to learn how foreign buyers of American-made products and services can obtain loans with lower interest rates and …
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Conservative lawmakers and activists are calling on Republican leaders to let the Export-Import Bank come to an end for good.

At a press conference Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX),  Republican Study Committee Chairman Bill Flores (R-TX), Sen Mike Lee (R-UT), House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and other conservatives pushed back against calls to bring the bank — whose charter expired at the end of June — back to life.

Politico reports that Cruz said left the door open for a filibuster if the Ex-Im bank is attached to the highway bill.

“I am willing to use any and all procedural tools to stop this corporate welfare, this corruption from being propagated,” Cruz (R-Texas) said Wednesday when asked whether he would be willing to filibuster the highway bill.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) agreed, adding: “I think those of us who oppose it will continue to use any and all procedural tools at our disposal in order to oppose it.”

While bank supporters believe they have enough votes to move the Ex-Im Bank in the Senate, the Washington Times reported that the opponents say GOP leaders will be the deciding factor.

The House, though, is making the first move, scheduling a vote Wednesday on a bill that extends the highway fund through the end of the year. That would buy enough time for lawmakers to devise an international tax overhaul that could cobble together the $90 billion needed to fill the gap between projected costs and expected revenues from the federal gas tax over the next six years.

Rep. Bill Flores, Texas Republican and chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said Wednesday it is unclear whether the GOP would move to block a legislative rule that would bring a Senate version with Ex-Im attached to the House floor.

Conservatives said it is up to Mr. McConnell and Speaker John A. Boehner to stand against Ex-Im, which they said benefits corporations with lobbyists at the expense of taxpayers. They even praised GOP leaders for letting the bank expire, saying no one had to lift a finger to let the bank wind down its existing lines of credit.

“If there’s one thing Congress is good at,” Mr. Cruz said, “it’s doing nothing.”