The House on Wednesday passed a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, 330-93, despite strong resistance from conservative lawmakers.
Not one Democrat opposed the bill, while 93 Republicans rejected it, including members of the GOP leadership team. The legislation has the blessing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and is expected to become law.
The overwhelming approval of the House bill came in the wake of delicate negotiations between House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).
The Cantor-Hoyer deal triggered protests from right-leaning groups, including the Club for Growth, while attracting praise from industry officials.
Cantor compromised with Democrats and agreed to a three-year extension of the bank, whose charter is slated to expire May 31, and a phased-in $40 billion increase in its lending capacity, the amount President Obama had been seeking.
The bank is of vital interest to business groups because it offers loans and loan guarantees to help firms purchase U.S.-made goods and services overseas.
The bipartisan accord was deemed unacceptable to some Republicans, including Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.). Following the vote, Ryan said he has always voted against the bank, citing free-market principles.
Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, was more blunt. In a release, Jordan said that “some supporters of this bill actually argue that we must expand Ex-Im now so we can eliminate it later. Only in Washington is a 40 percent increase characterized as a phase-out. The right thing to do is step back and allow this unnecessary government agency to expire on June 1.”
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