Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may be on the verge of earning praise from one of his biggest critics, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, by doing one small thing: Nothing.
Earlier this month, Export-Import Bank supporters in the House — mostly Democrats and a minority group of Republicans — used the rarely successful discharge petition to secure a future vote on reauthorization. With it appearing to have enough support in the House, McConnell is one of the few things blocking the bank from coming back to life. The Kentucky Republican’s office has said he won’t devote floor time to a bill he doesn’t support. And unless it survives a conference committee on the highway bill, or some type of legislative jujitsu in the House, Ex-Im Bank reauthorization will die with McConnell holding the smoking gun.
“Any time Republican leadership is standing up for conservative principles, I salute their efforts,” Cruz said Tuesday in a brief interview. “I wish I could be saluting their efforts more often.”
In July, Cruz railed against McConnell over an alleged, yet disputed , side deal to secure votes on a trade deal for a future vote on the bank — an institution reviled by many conservatives. Cruz cried foul when the bank was attached as an amendment to a highway bill, saying the Kentucky Republican told him “a flat-out lie.”
“It’s my hope that leadership accepts this victory,” Cruz, a 2016 presidential hopeful, said Tuesday. “One of the few positive things the Republican Congress has done is eliminated one of the more egregious examples of corporate welfare — hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer-financed loan guarantees — primarily to a handful of giant corporations. All that Congress has to do to maintain this victory is do nothing”
Of course, Cruz’s presidential campaign is largely run as him vs. “the Washington Cartel,” so it’s unlikely that an Ex-Im victory will produce anything more than short-lived praise.
McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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