Majority Whip Steve Scalise doesn't seem to be making any reversals on the Export-Import Bank.
In an interview with CQ Roll Call, the Louisiana Republican signaled continued opposition to an Ex-Im reauthorization. Asked what he thought would happen to the export credit agency, which finances and insures foreign purchases of U.S. goods, Scalise offered a simple prediction.
“It’s set to expire,” he said.
Pressed on that answer a bit — Of course it's set to expire, but will it? — Scalise was a little clearer.
“At this point, [Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling of Texas] has said he wants it to expire, and I think it’s on track to go that way," Scalise said.
The bank's charter expires on June 30, and Hensarling and other fiscal hawks, who dismiss the bank as little more than "corporate welfare," are content to see the 81-year-old agency fade away.
But with some GOP support for a reauthorization in both chambers, and with near-unanimous support among Democrats, it's an open question as to what will really happen.
Yes, Hensarling has been steadfast in his opposition. Yes, other chairmen with a piece of jurisdiction over the bank — Paul D. Ryan for Ways and Means and Tom Price for Budget — have signaled opposition. And, yes, conservatives are just about ready to break out a round of "Ding-Dong! The Bank Is Dead."
But there are plenty of Republicans, privately and publicly, who feel leaders have an obligation to give them a vote on reauthorization — a vote that, with the help of Democrats, would likely pass.
Much of the question with the bank is how GOP leaders will handle Hensarling's resistance to a reauthorization bill. Would they force Hensarling to consider a bill? Would they simply subvert the committee process?
Questions like those have every side watching the Ex-Im debate closely.
Scalise, who covered a number of topics with CQ Roll Call in an interview to be published Tuesday, didn't exactly voice opposition to the bank. He simply offered a prediction in keeping with a voting record of opposition to reauthorization.
After the interview, Scalise's office told CQ Roll Call the Louisiana conservative is opposed to the bank in its current form. That might mean there is some version of Ex-Im Scalise could support. Or it might just be a hedge.
Either way, with recent reports that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy could be changing his mind, any opposition to Ex-Im within GOP leadership — explicit or not — is worth noting.
Related: Conservatives Surprisingly Optimistic About Ending Ex-Im Bank Conservative Groups: Let Ex-Im Bank Expire Hoyer: Democrats Want ‘Minimum’ 5-Year Extension for Ex-Im Bank The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.