Morning Action: The Fight to End Export-Import Bank is Heating Up
EX-IM BANK. The fight against the Export-Import Bank is heating up on and off Capitol Hill (sub. req’d):
The call to inaction was echoed by several other speakers on hand representing Heritage Action for America, Americans for Tax Reform and FreedomWorks, among others. The coalition of conservative groups strongly oppose the reauthorization of the institution designed to help U.S. companies finance goods for sales overseas, which they call anachronistic, a slush fund, corporate welfare and “cronyism.”
The Monday gathering in the Rayburn House Office Building also kicked off what is expected to be a coordinated campaign to push lawmakers — especially Republicans who have the majority in the House — to reject the Ex-Im Bank’s reauthorization. The Obama administration is backing a five-year extension for the bank, along with a lift to its lending cap to $160 billion through September 2019.
“All too often the Republican Party is . . . tagged as being the party of corporate welfare and big business. This is an opportunity to flip that on its head,” Heritage Action Communications Director Dan Holler said at the event on Monday. “Think about an election cycle where Republicans can . . . credibly claim that they are in Washington fighting against corporate welfare. That’s a game changer for a lot of voters.
“It’s great policy,” Holler continued, “and the politics will follow.”
IMMIGRATION. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is pressuring Congress to work on an immigration bill. As conservatives, we maintain now is not the time for attempts at reform, because President Obama does not even enforce current law (sub. req’d):
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack marked Cinco de Mayo by keeping election-year pressure on the House GOP leadership over immigration. Today, he held a conference call with reporters, the president of the United Farm Workers and a California farmers group to call on Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 52%, to take a stand on the legislation. Last week, Vilsack targeted a similar conference call to Virginia, home state of Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) 79%.
The UFW has regularly been staging protests at McCarthy’s Bakersfield office. Vilsack told reporters today that Cantor and House Speaker John A. Boehner should get McCarthy “to make a public statement in support of immigration reform.”
Boehner, R-Ohio, has given mixed signals on the issue. Last week, he assured House conservatives there is no “conspiracy” to bring immigration legislation to the floor over their objections. McCarthy and the leadership have “decided to hold the democratic process hostage,” said UFW President Arturo Rodriguez.
BENGHAZI. The White House has not indicated whether they will cooperate with the new Benghazi committee (sub. req’d):
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly refused to say on Monday whether the White House would cooperate with a new Benghazi committee.
Carney said the White House would continue to cooperate with “legitimate” oversight by Congress but refused to say whether he thought the new select committee to be headed up by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) 82%, met that test.
And he ripped the decision to create the panel as “highly partisan,” suggesting Republicans — and some media organizations — are simply obsessing over conspiracy theories for political ends. Carney also contended the White House told the truth at the time of the attacks.
And he left it up to House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 14%, on whether Democrats should cooperate.
DEAL MAKING. Some lawmakers are suggesting that it would be worth exchanging support for the Keystone pipeline in return for support of the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill (sub. req’d):
Senate Democrats are offering Republicans a vote on approving the Keystone XL pipeline, but are demanding an energy efficiency bill pass in return.
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) 40%, remained confident Monday that the Senate would vote on approving the Keystone XL pipeline regardless of the outcome of the energy bill, but a senior Democratic aide threw cold water on that idea.
“We are ready to give them a vote if they give us Shaheen-Portman,” a senior Senate Democratic aide said, referring to the energy efficiency legislation’s authors, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) 2%, and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) 28%.
The aide added that the deal would require enough Republican support to pass the energy efficiency bill.