WASHINGTON -- Faced with conservative opposition, House Speaker John Boehner is declining to take a position on renewing the Export-Import Bank even though he’s supported it in the past. His new stance deals a blow to a top priority of the business community.
The Ohio Republican told reporters Tuesday that he has a different job now and needs to work with GOP lawmakers to make sure they’re comfortable with what he called a "rather controversial subject."
"Some people believe that we shouldn’t have it at all, others believe that we should reauthorize it with significant reforms," Boehner said. "We’re going to work our way through it."
The government agency provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to help foreign buyers purchase American-made products. Its charter expires in September, and without legislation, it would not be able to back new loans.
Business groups are pushing hard for its renewal but conservative groups are opposed, saying it amounts to corporate welfare and that the private sector can fill its place.