Ted Cruz Willing to Use ‘Any and All’ Tools to Stop Export-Import Bank Reauthorization
With talk of the Export-Import Bank’s reauthorization continuing on Capitol Hill, Sen. Ted Cruz said today he plans to use “any and all” tools possible to stop the 81-year-old agency from coming back to life.
Speaking to reporters in front of the U.S. Capitol today, Cruz, R-Texas, raised the prospect of filibustering a highway funding bill that could be used as a vehicle for Ex-Im’s reauthorization.
“I am willing to use any and all procedural tools to stop this corporate welfare, this corruption from being propagated,” Cruz said when asked if he would attempt to stop the advancement of the highway legislation if it included Ex-Im reauthorization.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who joined Cruz, agreed.
“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,” he said.
The two senators were joined by Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as well as leaders of the Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund, Heritage Action for America and Tea Party Patriots.
Ex-Im’s charter expired June 30, and conservatives in the House and Senate are working to ensure the bank is not reauthorized. However, Senate Democrats are working to attach an amendment reauthorizing Ex-Im to the highway funding bill.
The Highway Trust Fund expires July 31, and Congress is looking at legislation extending the highway funding bill — which has been dubbed a piece of “must-piece legislation” — for another five months.
In an effort to act before the upper chamber, the House passed a five-month patch for the Highway Trust Fund without Ex-Im reauthorization today.
Last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a vote on Ex-Im’s reauthorization in exchange for their support on Trade Promotion Authority, which ultimately passed Congress.
Cantwell and Graham represent two states where Boeing has a strong presence. The aircraft manufacturer is Ex-Im’s biggest beneficiary, and bank opponents have dubbed Ex-Im the “Bank of Boeing.”
Speaking alongside Cruz, Lee and other Ex-Im opponents, Ken Cuccinelli, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, criticized McConnell for publicly opposing Ex-Im, but furthering efforts to bring it back to life.
“Mitch McConnell should stop pretending to oppose the Ex-Im Bank. Nobody’s buying it, and it’s completely dishonest. If McConnell truly opposed the Ex-Im Bank, he would block every amendment to reauthorize it,” Cuccinelli said. “He’s blocked conservative amendments through this entire year during his tenure as majority leader. Why not block liberal amendments?”
Cruz, also speaking to McConnell’s leadership, called on the Senate’s top Republican to match his actions with his words.
“We are here gathered today to celebrate a conservative victory. It’s interesting, with a Republican majority, we haven’t had a lot of conservative victories. This is one. We’re here today to praise Mitch McConnell and (House Speaker) John Boehner,” Cruz said. “They have the opportunity to deliver on their campaign rhetoric, and I am hopeful that actions will follow words. And every person here will gladly celebrate strong Republican leadership if we, in fact, have strong Republican leadership.”
Though Ex-Im’s charter expired just over two weeks ago, the bank continues to oversee its existing financing. However, it no longer has the authority to extend new financing to customers.
The bank provides taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to foreign countries and companies for the purchase of U.S. products.
Conservatives, including Cruz and Lee, argue the bank furthers corporate welfare and cronyism. However, Democrats and moderate Republicans have united in support of Ex-Im, which they say helps small businesses compete in the global market and supports U.S. jobs.
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