Well, the selection of the new House Majority Leader was certainly much less eventful than the previous Majority Leader’s downfall.
The No. 3 Republican, Kevin McCarthy, easily moved up to take the No. 2 spot from Eric Cantor, who was defeated in the primaries by David Brat.
And given that the names in leadership haven’t changed much, you’d think that the politics would mostly stay the same, as well.
But nothing could be further from the truth…
In fact, one of the first moves made by the new Majority Leader was to declare the Export-Import Bank, an 80-year-old institution, dead.
The Export-Import Bank was created in order to help push American products, by guaranteeing loans for foreign customers buying anything from airplanes to earth-moving equipment.
By guaranteeing the loans, Ex-Im shifted the risk from the lending bank to the American taxpayers, greatly incentivizing more purchases.
Kevin McCarthy went on Fox News Sunday, and made headlines by announcing, “We’ve got hearings going on next week in [the] Financial Services [Committee], which I sit on. I think Ex-Im Bank is… something government does not have to be involved in. The private sector can do it.”
The show’s host, Chris Wallace, responded: “You would allow the Ex-Im Bank to expire in September?”
“Yes,” McCarthy replied, “because it’s something that the private sector can be able to do.”
McCarthy’s decision has sent shockwaves through the K Street lobbyist crowd… and sent the crony capitalists who depend on government guarantees reeling.
The Times, They Are A-Changin’
This single issue shows how dramatically the politics of the Republican Party have changed.
Traditionally, the CEOs of America’s largest corporations could count on the Republicans to jump and do their bidding. Republicans have supported corporate welfare almost as consistently as the Democrats have supported food stamps, housing subsidies and welfare payments to the poor.
Indeed, when the program was reauthorized in 2012, Kevin McCarthy voted with the crony capitalist establishment to keep the corporate welfare rolling.
But the Tea Party is changing the culture inside the GOP.
No longer will the Republicans reflexively do the bidding of big business. The votes and attitudes of politicians are following the Tea Party, and more members of Congress are turning their backs on corporate welfare.
For now, it remains to be seen how changing attitudes will affect the other issues that big business covets.
The immigration reform movement, for example, has been powered by dollars from hospitality companies, restaurant chains, construction firms and meat packers that want low-wage workers coming across the border. House Speaker John Boehner has flirted with passing immigration reform at the behest of big business all year.
But the Tea Party is firm in its belief that the border needs to be secured… and suddenly talk of a vote on immigration reform has gone silent.
Of course, that could be because of election season. But the trend in the Republican Party is undeniable… and big business is officially on watch.
Your eyes on the Hill,