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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

On Ex-Im Bank, GOP leadership allies launch rebellion of their own

From The Washington Post:

A small but powerful band of House Republicans rebelled against party leadership Monday night, a near-constant theme of Speaker John A. Boehner’s tenure the past five years.

Except these rebels didn’t comprise the usual 30 to 40 staunch conservatives who have agitated Boehner (R-Ohio) and helped prompt his decision a month ago to resign at the end of this week. This time an even larger bloc of Republicans who are reliable votes for the leadership team linked arms with Democrats for a highly unusual bid to revive an export subsidy agency that the conservatives had shut down over the summer.

Seething at the Export-Import Bank’s expiration, 62 Republicans voted with 184 Democrats Monday on a rarely used procedure to force a vote to reopen the bank with some modest reforms. Once the mainstream conservatives got the legislation to a final vote, the far-right flank was routed as a majority of Republicans supported renewal of the bank, which passed on a vote of 313 to 118.

Final passage will be Tuesday, sending the legislation to the Senate, where its outcome is unclear but where it counts the support of almost 70 of 100 senators.

It was a remarkable turnabout for the several dozen establishment Republicans, who have seen their agenda largely stymied by the House’s right flank. Yet the renewal of Ex-Im’s charter largely became possible because the right wing had so much success in helping oust Boehner and blocking the ascension of his top deputy, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Counting the expected support of all 188 Democrats, Fincher’s group of Republicans needed 40 GOP signatures to reach the magic number of 218 to force a vote on Ex-Im.

These petition efforts almost never succeed because in normal times it’s considered an act of extreme disloyalty for members of the majority to sign on with the other party over the leadership. They moved quickly enough to put the legislation on the floor before the new speaker, expected to be Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), could take the gavel later this week.

Ryan is a strong opponent of the Ex-Im Bank.

[W]ith Boehner a lame duck, Ryan not yet in charge and McCarthy losing some clout, there was no leader that could stop the establishment Republicans from a rebellion of their own.

Boehner has stayed quiet on his way out the door, but his position supporting the bank — thousands of jobs in his southwestern Ohio district are tied to its loans — has been clear all along.

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