Mike & Co. —
The House voted 246-177 tonight in favor of a discharge petition setting up a final House vote tonight orTuesday on reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, a rare parliamentary maneuver to force the agency’s proposed resurrection onto the House floor, over the opposition of conservative Republicans.
If the Bank is ultimately revived, it would mark just the third time in history that a new law was passed by going entirely through the route of a discharge petition. The other two laws were the first national minimum wage bill in the 1930s and a federal pay bill 45 years ago.
The waning days of the Boehner speakership have afforded House supporters of Ex-Im an opportunity. More than 40 Republicans took advantage of the leadership vacuum in recent weeks to flex procedural muscle and force a vote on reopening the Bank.
“It picks winners and losers and injects political agendas into their financing. That is not how the free enterprise system should work,” Rep. Paul Ryan said earlier this month. Ryan, the likely new speaker of the House of Representatives, also called the bank crony capitalism.
Since the bank’s charter expired on July 1, General Electric said it would move 500 jobs overseas and Boeing said it lost two lucrative satellite contracts.
Since July, supporters have searched for a way to bring the divisive issue to a vote. Earlier this month, a bipartisan group collected 218 signatures on a special petition to force the legislation out of the Financial Services Committee, where it was stalled, and onto the House floor for the upcoming vote.
A discharge petition brings a bill out of committee and to a vote on the House floor without requiring Committee approval. Under House rules, the bill is guaranteed to receive a floor vote soon, and with 218 backers, it already has enough support to pass.
Because those signatures represent a majority of the House, lawmakers expect the bill to renew the bank will pass.
Senators voted 64-29 in June to reauthorize the Bank, but that was part of a bill to renew highway programs. That’s not in the House bill, so another vote would be needed. Following that vote, McConnell said, it “looks to me like [Bank supporters] have the votes, and I’m going to give them the opportunity.”
But it faces an uncertain future in the Senate, which can’t proceed unless McConnell schedules a vote.