House Speaker John Boehner has a really tough job. Nobody would blame him for stepping down after this fall's election. The top two names floated as successors are Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling.
Cantor and Hensarling have had some tension between them lately. First, Cantor stripped Hensarling of his chairman's prerogative when he brought to the floor a bill to undo unpopular reforms to the flood insurance program. Now, Democrats have hinted that Cantor might do the same with the bill to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank -- a federal agency that subsidizes U.S. exports.
Ex-Im is beloved by large manufacturers (who get subsidies), banks (who get taxpayer loan guarantees) and Democrats (who get to steer businesses using these subsidies), but it's not exactly a free- market kind of thing. The agency expires this fall unless Congress reauthorizes it. Hensarling's committee has jurisidiction over it.
A National Journal piece today suggests that Ex-Im could become another battleground in Cantor vs Hensarling:
If unresolved, the issue of the bank's charter could pit Cantor against Hensarling -- both men are seen as potential successors to Speaker John Boehner -- and raise questions about whether Hensarling's committee will retain control of the issue.
Although the charter does not expire for another five months, the issue came to the foreground this week when several prominent Democrats spoke out in favor of rechartering the bank, and one well- known conservative penned an op-ed in opposition. ...
On Wednesday, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who worked with Cantor on the last reauthorization, said, "I have had discussions, preliminary discussions, with Mr. Cantor about moving forward on the Export-Import Bank."
Cantor's office pushes back on the idea that they would take the bill from Hensarling and pass it. And there's good reason to think Cantor wouldn't do this:
About half of the House GOP voted against reauthorizing in 2012. Opposition seems to be growing today. So would Cantor really circumvent regular order to pass a corporate welfare bill opposed by the majority of the GOP caucus? While running for Speaker?