House Majority Leader’s Agenda Missing Ex-Im Bank
Policy + Politics

House Majority Leader’s Agenda Missing Ex-Im Bank


Just a week after departing for a five-week vacation, House Republicans leaders have begun planning the agenda for their return in September. For now, at least, there is nothing on it regarding the ongoing immigration crisis along the Southwest border or resolving a deadlock over reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

Instead, Republicans intend to talk about jobs and economic growth, lowering the cost of gasoline and groceries and renewing their assault on the Affordable Care Act, according to a memorandum that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) sent to his members on Friday.

‘Do-Nothing Congress’ Gets Ready for an Unearned 5-Week

“As you travel your Districts and meet with constituents, I want to briefly update you on three items I expect the House to consider in September that you may wish to factor into your District events,” McCarthy wrote. “I will provide additional details on the September agenda later this month. In the meantime, as always, feel free to call or email with questions or feedback.”

Congress recessed for the remainder of the summer after a stormy wrap-up in which lawmakers agreed on additional funding for the scandal ridden Veterans Affairs Department health care system and replenished the federal Highway Trust fund. But lawmakers struck out in trying to come up with a solution for dealing with the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America who have illegally crossed into the United States, while the fate of the Export-Import Bank was left unresolved.

The House managed to  bridge deep divisions within its conference last Friday and passed two bills providing emergency funding to deal with the immigration crisis, speed the deportations of many who crossed over and repeal President Obama’s authority to determine whether or not to deport certain illegal immigrants, The Washington Post reported. However, the bills have zero chance of becoming law because of overwhelming opposition from Senate Democrats and the White House.

The Export-Import Bank provides trade financing to support U.S. companies doing business overseas. The bank, which has been around since 1934, will be forced to close down if it is not reauthorized before September 30, the last day of the fiscal year.

Related: Obama’s August Playbook: Own the Immigration Fix 

Conservative Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives view the bank as a government intrusion into what should be a private market function, and are hostile to renewal. 

McCarthy himself has suggested that the bank’s charter ought to be allowed to expire, and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, is also an adamant opponent. While other Republicans have expressed support for renewal, the bank’s fate in the House remains uncertain.

Dan Holler, communications director for the conservative Heritage Action for America, thought it was noteworthy that McCarthy left the Export-Import Bank controversy off his memo.

Related: McCarthy Rolls Over for Tea Party on Ex-Im Bank

“Republican leadership understands Ex-Im is not popular and its continued existence is hard to justify,” Holler told the Fiscal Times. “The real question for them is whether they quietly try to slip a reauthorization/extension by their base or they follow the leader of conservatives like chairmen Hensarling and [Paul] Ryan by allowing the Bank to expire.” 

An aide to the House GOP leadership said that McCarthy’s memo provides a brief look at some of the bills that will come to the floor – but is by no means comprehensive. “We wanted to make Members aware so they can share and discuss with their constituents while they're working in their districts,” the aide explained. 

Here is what McCarthy said in the memo: 


TO:                  House Republicans
FROM:                         Kevin McCarthy
DATE:                          August 8, 2014
SUBJECT:        Initial September Outlook 

As you travel your Districts and meet with constituents, I want to briefly update you on three items I expect the House to consider in September that you may wish to factor into your District events. I will provide additional details on the September agenda later this month. In the meantime, as always, feel free to call or email with questions or feedback. 

An Agenda for American Prosperity 

Jobs and Economic Growth – While the President likes to tout improving jobs numbers, the truth is that record numbers of Americans are being forced into temporary or part-time employment, with most of the so-called “growth” coming in the form of lower-wage jobs. Meanwhile, House Republicans have sent more than 40 bills to the Senate that would foster a true recovery that gets Americans back to work in good-paying jobs (for a complete list, see: These bills would reduce the regulatory burdens that are suffocating job growth, help small businesses access capital, and make permanent a series of tax provisions that will grow our economy. Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats in the Senate have ignored these common-sense jobs bills. To increase pressure on Harry Reid to finally put American workers and economic growth first, we will send the Senate a single package of our jobs bills. I want to thank the Members who have suggested this approach to attempt to break the logjam in the Senate and draw more attention with Americans across the country to our solutions. 

Lowering Costs on Gas and Groceries – When President Obama took office, the average cost of a gallon of gasoline was $1.85; now, it is $3.52. If you put 10 gallons in your tank, that is an extra $16! Now think what gas prices could have been had we adopted a common-sense energy policy. What if oil production on federal land had grown just as it did on private land (between 2009 and 2013, oil production on federal lands fell 6 percent while it increased by 61 percent on state and private lands)? I urge you to talk to families and businesses about how higher energy prices have impacted them and what they might be able to do (afford a night out, hire a new employee, etc.) if we had a sensible energy policy. House Republicans have sent numerous energy bills to the Senate. It is time to hold Harry Reid and his fellow Democrats accountable for their refusal to support lower energy prices and American job creation.  That is why we will also send a consolidated energy package to the Senate in September that will, among other things, open federal lands, support the Keystone XL pipeline, and prevent environmental regulations that are killing American-made energy. 

Healthcare – President Obama and his fellow Democrats promised that under Obamacare, if you liked your health plan, you could keep it. But last year, millions of Americans in the individual insurance market found out that wasn’t true. They lost access to the plans they had and in many cases had to pay much higher premiums. In fact, premiums increased by 40% on average nationwide from 2013 to 2014. Many small businesses were able to avoid losing access to their plans and facing higher premiums last year because they were able to renew their old plans early. For many small businesses, that will not be possible this year. A recent non-partisan government analysis found that two-thirds of all small businesses will face increases in monthly premiums – affecting 11 million Americans – as a direct result of the law. The Energy & Commerce Committee has reported a bill to allow those who purchase health care on the group market to keep the plans they had – just as the President promised. I would encourage you to speak to small businesses in your district during the month of August to collect first-hand stories to share with the Conference on what devastating consequences Obamacare has had for small businesses and their employees. 

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