For today’s most important article, I chose Roll Call’s Emma Dumain and her coverage of the inevitable expiration of the authorization of the Export-Import Bank.
Why did I choose this article? To show the continued destruction that the Tea Party has on our political landscape. In short, Tea Party conservatives like House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana are claiming (at the behest of their supporters) that this is a government agency that delivers “foreign handouts”. In truth, the Export-Import Bank is a complex government agency that has several good arguments to both support it and oppose it (H/T Ezra Klein). However, we all know the real reason this is happening: it’s because the Tea Party has found yet another section of the federal government to demonize by oversimplifying its purpose and claim that it’s another example of “big government” run amok. And although House Speaker John Boehner has apparently implemented a “culture of punishment” during his tenure that seeks to make his fellow Republicans think twice before dissenting, he still can’t get them to relent on the Export-Import fight. (H/T LAUREN FRENCH and JAKE SHERMAN of Politico).
Here’s the thing: I’m willing to bet that even if the Tea Party does manage to kill the Export-Import Bank, it won’t notice a single difference after the fact. There will not be a single consequence they can point to as to how the closing of this agency has improved the lives of their constituents. Once again, this is just another way for the Tea Party to make the federal government (and congress) as dysfunctional and unproductive as possible. It’s a chance for them to humiliate “Establishment Republicans” and the President by not renewing authorization for an agency that has been around since 1945. Nevermind the fact that this type of agency is common among all developed countries around the world. Nevermind the fact that this government agency is not known for its excessive spending. Nevermind the fact that it wasn’t until the Tea Party took over that this became a prominent debate in the GOP. This is just a grandiose fight between members of the Republican Party to prove their conservatism to pundits and advocacy groups like Heritage Action and the Club For Growth. Instead of forcing the country to participate in your “civil war”, why not focus on policies that actually affect the lives of their constituents (i.e. minimum wage, infrastructure spending, tax reform, immigration reform, etc.).