Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips has a message for House Republicans: When the Export-Import Bank approaches its Sept. 30 expiration date, do nothing.
“We’re asking Congress to do something it does exceeding well,” Phillips wryly told a room of allies and reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday. “Just don’t do anything.”
The call to inaction was echoed by several other speakers on hand representing Heritage Action for America, Americans for Tax Reform and FreedomWorks, among others. The coalition of conservative groups strongly oppose the reauthorization of the institution designed to help U.S. companies finance goods for sales overseas, which they call anachronistic, a slush fund, corporate welfare and “cronyism.”
The Monday gathering in the Rayburn House Office Building also kicked off what is expected to be a coordinated campaign to push lawmakers — especially Republicans who have the majority in the House — to reject the Ex-Im Bank’s reauthorization. The Obama administration is backing a five-year extension for the bank, along with a lift to its lending cap to $160 billion through September 2019.
Outside groups are poised to issue key votes, buy air time against noncommittal members and inundate town halls during the decisive August recess ahead of the midterm elections in November. Last week, 30 conservative organizations signed onto a letter articulating their opposition.
“All too often the Republican Party is … tagged as being the party of corporate welfare and big business. This is an opportunity to flip that on its head,” Heritage Action Communications Director Dan Holler said at the event on Monday. “Think about an election cycle where Republicans can … credibly claim that they are in Washington fighting against corporate welfare. That’s a game changer for a lot of voters.
“It’s great policy,” Holler continued, “and the politics will follow.” Full story