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Kevin McCarthy: not as bad as we’d thought

I posted earlier today on the reluctance of the GOP to stand for much of anything other than perpetuating itself. Every once in a while there is a spark of hope in the darkness that keeps we base voters plodding forward. When one of those happens, it is only fitting that we acknowledge it.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 63% is not a Conservative Warrior. He definitely would not have been in my first ten choices for House Majority Leader. But he may have just have proven instrumental in killing the Export-Import Bank.

We, here at RedState, are not fans of the Export-Import Bank. It is crony capitalism at its worse. It uses the smokescreen of helping small businesses (for instance: “In FY 2014, nearly 90 percent of EXIM Bank’s transactions—more than 3,340—directly supported American small businesses.”) when a handful of really large corporations get about 95% of Ex-Im Bank’s loan guarantees.

Thanks to the efforts of conservatives like Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) 84%, the Export Import Bank’s authorization expired on June 30. That means from that point forward the bank cannot underwrite new loans but it can still administer previous loans. Enter Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 58%, our very own cornpone Machiavelli, with a scheme to reauthorize the bank. He attached it to a high profile bill, the Highway Bill, knowing that funding highway projects would cause many opponents of the bank to hold their nose and vote for it. It was this maneuver that set off the epic speech by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 100% from the well of the Senate.

Then McCarthy intervened. He is a skeptic of the Export-Import Bank. He said, “We’re not taking up the Senate bill.” This killed the Senate’s bill and with it the Ex-Im reauthorization. Now a three month extension of the Highway Bill is being worked out and it is expected to be a clean bill.

This sets up an interesting series of events.

The authorization of the Ex-Im Bank expired on June 30.

The appropriation for the bank lapses on September 30.

The Highway Bill extension doesn’t expire until late October.

Absent a new authorization, the Ex-Im Bank ceases to exist when its appropriation lapses.

Absent a new authorization, the Ex-Im Bank cannot be funded via a continuing resolution– no authorization, no appropriation.

Everyone anticipates that Ex -m supporters will try to slide the reauthorization into the upcoming continuing resolution, the Ryan-Murray budget, or the increase of the debt limit. Each of those actions becomes more fraught with difficulty. McConnell has been called out over his shenanigans and he claims to oppose the Ex-Im Bank (who the hell even knows if McConnell believes anything anymore?), so now he has less incentive to repeat his duplicity and the Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) 0%Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) 44% Axis had less and less to offer in exchange for a new vote on the bank.

So I’ll take a little time out from flaying the GOP to give Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) 63% his due. He may not be much of a conservative but he stuck to his guns on the Ex-Im Bank when the path of least resistance was to push through McConnell’s bill. That is worthy of a bit of praise.

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