Supporters of the Export-Import Bank have secured enough Republican support to bring an extension of the agency's charter to the House floor later this month, according to sources involved in the whipping.
More than 30 Republicans have signed on to a discharge petition, which would force a vote on reauthorizing the government-backed credit agency. Republicans expect at least a dozen more supporters. The vast majority of Democrats are expected to sign the discharge petition, a rarely invoked procedural maneuver that sidesteps the committee process.
If the numbers hold, there is nothing the GOP leadership could do to stop a vote on an extension.Discharge petitions are almost always just attempted by the minority. If enough members sign it—218, the number needed to pass any legislation—then a bill that's being held up or ignored by the committee it's been referred to can be yanked out of committee and sent directly to the floor. Current Speaker John Boehner has supported the renewal of Ex-Im, but he's also allowed the extremists in the conference to have the upper hand and to hold most committees. So that's where stuff that normal people think should maybe a policy thing to consider goes to die.
For her part, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is happy to work with disgruntled Republicans to stoke what would be a big ol' GOP fight. "We’ll have an overwhelming vote if they bring the bill to the floor," she said, "but we want to see what number they have. I'm excited about it. If the Republicans have enough people on their discharge position then we will join in and go from there."
It's just one issue, a big ol' corporate one at that, but if the less-crazy Republicans decide they want to wrest some control of their destiny from the extremist and do it with the help of Democrats, well, fun times ahead for Mr. McCarthy.