Cathy McMorris Rodgers Expects Export-Import Bank to Be Reauthorized

GOP Conference chair breaks with the majority-leader-in-waiting on a major issue for Washington state.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 05: U.S. House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) listens during a briefing March 5, 2014 at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee in Washington, DC. House Republicans briefed members of the media after a closed conference meeting.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
July 28, 2014, 6:22 p.m.

Cor­rec­tion: The print ver­sion of this story car­ried an in­cor­rect head­line. Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers ex­pects the Ex-Im Bank to be re­formed and reau­thor­ized.

When Con­gress re­turns from its Au­gust re­cess in early Septem­ber, mem­bers will have just a few le­gis­lat­ive days to reau­thor­ize the Ex­port-Im­port Bank, the en­tity re­spons­ible for provid­ing loans to Amer­ic­an busi­nesses to help them sell their products around the globe. Con­ser­vat­ives in the House, ac­cus­ing the agency of try­ing to pick “win­ners and losers,” fa­vor al­low­ing the bank’s au­thor­iz­a­tion to lapse, while mem­bers from states de­pend­ent on trade are push­ing hard to keep the bank alive.

At the cen­ter of this fight is Rep. Cathy Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers, a mem­ber of House lead­er­ship as GOP Con­fer­ence chair and a rep­res­ent­at­ive of Wash­ing­ton state, the most trade-de­pend­ent state in the coun­try.

In past years, Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers has voted to reau­thor­ize the bank, which gives loans to com­pan­ies in­clud­ing Wash­ing­ton state gi­ant Boe­ing. But with the bank’s au­thor­iz­a­tion set to ex­pire on Oct. 1, Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers is the only mem­ber of the Wash­ing­ton del­eg­a­tion who has not yet said wheth­er she will vote to keep it run­ning this year.

In the mean­time, she’s get­ting hammered at home in ed­it­or­i­als across the state, ran­ging far out­side of her East­ern Wash­ing­ton dis­trict, even as a fel­low mem­ber of Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship has come out in fa­vor of elim­in­at­ing the bank al­to­geth­er.

The Ex-Im reau­thor­iz­a­tion was a ma­jor point of con­ten­tion two weeks ago dur­ing a D.C. meet­ing between the Wash­ing­ton state con­gres­sion­al del­eg­a­tion and the state’s vis­it­ing gov­ernor, Demo­crat Jay Inslee. Dur­ing the ren­dez­vous in Sen. Patty Mur­ray’s of­fice, Sen. Maria Can­t­well pressed Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers on the is­sue, ac­cord­ing to a Demo­crat­ic aide with the del­eg­a­tion. 

Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers told her col­leagues that she be­lieved the House would pass a short-term reau­thor­iz­a­tion, but stayed mum on wheth­er she would sup­port it, ac­cord­ing to the aide. That didn’t quite ap­pease Demo­crats who feel that a short-term deal won’t al­low busi­nesses to plan for the fu­ture. “I mean, that’s bet­ter than noth­ing,” the aide said. 

Just a week earli­er, Mur­ray, Can­t­well, and Demo­crat­ic Rep. Denny Heck sent a let­ter to Speak­er John Boehner call­ing for him to bring a reau­thor­iz­a­tion to the floor, of­fer­ing an im­pli­cit nudge to Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers. “When last reau­thor­ized, Ex-Im was un­an­im­ously sup­por­ted by the Wash­ing­ton state del­eg­a­tion, both Re­pub­lic­ans and Demo­crats,” they wrote.

Can­t­well, Mur­ray, and Inslee even took a trip to Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers’s dis­trict last month to rally sup­port for the bank.

In an in­ter­view in her con­gres­sion­al of­fice earli­er this month, Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers ac­know­ledged the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the bank’s reau­thor­iz­a­tion and Wash­ing­ton state’s de­pend­ence on it. One in three jobs in the state is de­pend­ent on trade, she said, many of them in her East­ern Wash­ing­ton dis­trict.

She is also well-aware of the wave of ed­it­or­i­als in pa­pers across the state call­ing on her to stand be­hind the bank. The Spokane Spokes­man-Re­view, Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers’s loc­al pa­per, has called her out on the is­sue. The Seattle Times, whose dis­tri­bu­tion in­cludes much of Boe­ing’s op­er­a­tions but is a five-hour drive from Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers’ dis­trict, has put out two ed­it­or­i­als point­ing its fin­ger at the East­ern Wash­ing­ton Re­pub­lic­an. So has The Olympi­an, which is even farther away.

That puts Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers in a tough po­s­i­tion. As a mem­ber of House lead­er­ship, she can’t ig­nore the grow­ing voices on the far right that would like to see ma­jor re­forms to the bank, if they de­cide to reau­thor­ize it at all. And in­com­ing Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Kev­in Mc­Carthy has said he’d be just fine let­ting the bank’s au­thor­iz­a­tion lapse and is leav­ing it up to Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, one of the bank’s strongest op­pon­ents.

Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers said she finds ar­gu­ments for re­form very com­pel­ling and hopes to get to a com­prom­ise to im­ple­ment them, while keep­ing the bank open. “I think we’re go­ing to get to a place where something moves for­ward, some kind of reau­thor­iz­a­tion with some sig­ni­fic­ant re­forms,” she said in her of­fice.

Pressed on wheth­er she would fa­vor shut­ter­ing the bank al­to­geth­er if con­ser­vat­ives can’t get the re­forms they de­sire, Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers said she was con­tinu­ing to work with mem­bers of her party to make sure that doesn’t hap­pen. “I be­lieve that we will get to a place where we will have some im­port­ant re­forms and there will be a reau­thor­iz­a­tion of the Ex­port-Im­port Bank,” she said.

When con­tac­ted for this story, staffers for the state del­eg­a­tion said they had not heard Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers say be­fore that the bank would not close, but they were hope­ful that she would use her po­s­i­tion in lead­er­ship to pro­tect it.

“I think the Ex-Im Bank is a real test for Cathy,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash.

What We're Following See More »
MARCIA FUDGE TO PRESIDE
Wasserman Schultz Stripped of Convention Duties
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."

Source:
EARLY BUMP FOR TRUMP?
New Round of Polls Show a Tight Race
2 days ago
THE LATEST
  • A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
  • A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
  • And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
BELLWETHER?
Candidates Deadlocked in Ohio
3 days ago
THE LATEST
17-POINT EDGE AMONG MILLENNIALS
Clinton Dominates Among Younger Voters
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.

Source:
NEW POLL SHOWS TROUBLE FOR TRUMP
Clinton Leads Trump Among Latinos by Nearly 70 Points
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.

Source:
×