House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he still believes the Export-Import Bank of the United States should be phased out, but on the question of whether that will happen, his answer was less certain.
McCarthy notably became one of the first House GOP leaders to call for the loan institution to be phased out last year, and as a growing chorus of voices on the right take that position publicly, McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that he has not changed his mind.
"I believe that there are certain roles for the government and certain roles for the private sector," he said. "My personal belief is government's in a place where the private sector could actually do it."
The bank's fate has divided the GOP, with many fiscal conservatives calling for its demise but much of the business community—and many key Republican donors—eager for it to continue.
McCarthy said he will allow regular order to play out, even if that means reauthorizing the bank's charter. Fortunately for him, Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling has long opposed reauthorizing the bank, which subsidizes some companies who export their goods to certain countries. And McCarthy said that if the committee chooses not to take up a reauthorization, he will not go against their wishes.
He said if the bank's charter expires June 30, the current loans remain in place, but no new loans can be doled out. That, he said, would give the private sector time to step in and fill the void.