Has the tea party wing of the GOP found a new bugaboo: crony capitalism. In an article titled “Long-building conservative anger at Export-Import Bank reaches boiling point,” authors Zachary Goldfarb and Holly Yeager write:
What began as a pet issue for a handful of conservatives is now turning the GOP on its head. The fight over the obscure agency (The Import Export Bank) has pitted traditional lawmakers backed by big corporations against tea party conservatives, who, still fuming over bank bailouts of 2008, insist that supporting free markets is not the same as supporting business interests.
Goldfarb and Yeager note:
Concerns about giveaways to corporations helped fuel Virginia Republican congressional candidate Dave Brat’s successful tea party primary challenge to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia. Cantor, with close ties to the Chamber of Commerce and other corporate groups, helped organize a deal in 2012 that saved Ex-Im despite growing criticism by conservatives.
Brian Beutler, writing in The New Republic explains:
It looks like the one big(gish) substantive consequence of Eric Cantor’s exit from the House Republican leadership will be the demise of the Export-Import bank. Or at least it looks very likely that John Boehner (who supports the Export-Import bank) will allow its authorization to lapse rather than pick a fight with conservative hardliners in the House.
One wouldn’t think the Export Import Bank would be a big deal for Republicans, Democrats, or tea party Republicans including Charles and David Koch who oppose the Bank, so what’s going on here? Do tea party Republicans hope to extract concessions from the leadership, to shutdown the government, or do they seek to discredit and replace the current Republican leaders? Will Speaker Boehner fight or cave in to pressure from the right? This may be a tough issue for Rep. Tom Reed. Funded by business interests, he would be expected to support the Bank.
© William Hungerford – June 2014