Opinion

Report: Eric Cantor unwilling to fight against conservatives for export subsidies

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Timothy P. Carney,Eric Cantor,Subsidies,Jeb Hensarling,Export Import Bank

Conservative lawmakers are lining up against the Export-Import Bank, which subsidizes U.S. exporters at taxpayer risk. Mike Lee wrote an op-ed against it, Pat Toomey criticized it on the floor, 21 Republican members cast a symbolic vote against an Obama nominee to Ex-Im's board, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell voted against reauthorization in 2012.

From a conservative caucus meeting, The Hill's Russell Berman gives us word that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling -- a no vote in 2012, and a vocal critic since then -- is pretty firmly in the "mend-it-or-end-it" camp. Also, Paul Ryan reportedly said Ex-Im should be allowed to lapse.

One conservative staffer wrote me that former Senator Phil Gramm was a special guest star at the RSC meeting, and he suggested "that ExIm could go away and the nation would be better off," in the words of the staffer.

The pro-Ex-Im side includes Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo and the House GOP leadership. I speculated last week that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor might take Ex-Im out of Hensarling's hands and pass it with mostly Democratic votes. But if The Hill report is correct, there's little will among the House GOP leadership:

"Cantor, meanwhile, has privately told members he does not intend to get involved this time around, a message that some see as an indication that he is weary of battling conservatives angered by a number of his recent legislative moves."

So Ex-Im might be in real danger.

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