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Democrats Urged to Oppose Ex-Im Amendments to Highway Bill

Hoyer said Tuesday Democrats are expecting "gotcha" Ex-Im amendments to the highway bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats expect plenty of "gotcha" Export-Import Bank-related amendments to the highway bill, and Republicans shouldn't count on much bipartisan support on them.  

"We are urging all of our members to vote no on any amendments to the Export-Import Bank provision in the highway bill, so that it can remain as the House passed it and the Senate passed it, both overwhelmingly," House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said Tuesday in a briefing with reporters. Last week, the House passed a bill reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank through September 2019. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said the Senate will not take up Ex-Im as a standalone bill; the chamber passed an extension of the bank as part of a six-year highway bill in July.  

The House is beginning debate Tuesday on the six-year highway bill, which blends House transportation policy with Senate-passed offsets and policy riders, like the Ex-Im reauthorization. The Rules Committee also meets Tuesday to decide which amendments related to the Ex-Im Bank and offsets in the Senate-passed highway bill will be debated on the floor.  

"There will probably be another 60 or 55 amendments," Hoyer said, noting he expects many to be related to the Ex-Im Bank.  

Hoyer complained that Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, had "bottled up" the Ex-Im Bank reauthorization in his committee because it lacked the support of the majority of the Republican conference. And he called on newly elected Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., who pledged to give committees more power to legislate, to not allow committee chairmen to kill bills arbitrarily.  

"While I agree with Paul Ryan that we don't elect speakers to be dictators," Hoyer said, "we do elect them to be leaders."

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