Incoming House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Sunday he will not support reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank's charter when it expires later this year.
The Ex-Im Bank was established in 1934 to provide financial assistance to foreign buyers of U.S. goods in order to encourage exports. McCarthy backed extending the agency's life in 2012, the last time the charter was reauthorized. The bank has since sparked a heated debate within the Republican Party, with conservative critics deriding the agency as an example of corporate welfare.
McCarthy, who was selected by his colleagues last week to replace outgoing Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), explained his position on the trade agency during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."
"One of the biggest problems with government is they go and take hard-earned money so others do things the private sector can do," McCarthy said when asked by the agency by Fox's Chris Wallace. "That's what the Ex-Im Bank does. The last authorization with the Ex-Im Bank directed the president and the Treasury secretary to wind down the Ex-Im Bank, negotiate with the other countries to wind them down so we have a level playing field."
McCarthy continued, "I think Ex-Im Bank is something government does not have to be involved in, the private sector can do it."
With Cantor's primary loss precipitating a shake-up at the top of the House GOP conference, business groups are concerned that the Ex-Im Bank will die under the new leadership team. As The Hill notes, incoming Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is also critical of the agency.
McCarthy has previously signaled that he will defer to House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who has led the charge against renewing the bank's charter, describing it as "the face of cronyism."