WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Thursday that “thousands of jobs” are at risk if one of his own party members does nothing on the impending expiration of the Export-Import Bank.
Boehner’s comments put him at odds with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who has made clear he wants to let the bank expire.
“Listen, I support any plan that the chairman can get through his committee, whether it would reform the bank, wind it down -- but there are thousands of jobs on the line that would disappear pretty quickly if the Ex-Im bank were to disappear,” Boehner said.
The Ex-Im Bank is the nation’s export credit agency, helping companies sell goods and services overseas. Opponents like Hensarling argue the bank essentially promotes “corporate welfare,” propping up big businesses. Proponents of reauthorization, however, say the bank helps U.S. businesses stay competitive in international markets.
The bank's charter is set to expire at the end of June, and Boehner said he has urged Hensarling to take action quickly.
“So I told the chairman he needs to come up with a plan. Because the risk is if he does nothing, the Senate is likely to act, and then what,” Boehner said, hinting that he may have no choice but to hold a vote on whatever the Senate passes.
The speaker is in favor of ending the bank's charter but he thinks a transition is needed in order to minimize the potential loss of jobs, Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel explained later on Thursday.
The second-ranking Republican in Boehner’s leadership team, however, sees things differently and has said ending the bank’s charter would not result in job losses. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters earlier this week that he still opposes reauthorizing the bank.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) has also said he would like to let it expire.