TIME career

Matt Lauer Asked Mary Barra If She Can Be a Good Mom and Run GM

GM CEO Mary Barra Testifies At House Hearing On Ignition Switch Recall
General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson--Getty Images) Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Just months after Sen. Barbara Boxer said she was disappointed in Barra "woman to woman."

In an exclusive TODAY show interview with Mary Barra, Matt Lauer asked the General Motors CEO if it was possible for her to run a major automaker and be a good mom at the same time.

Here’s a transcript of that part of the interview:

LAUER: You’re a mom, I mentioned, two kids. You said in an interview not long ago that your kids told you they’re going to hold you accountable for one job and that is being a mom.

BARRA: Correct. (smiling.)

LAUER: Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?

BARRA: You know, I think I can. I have a great team, we’re on the right path…I have a wonderful family, a supportive husband and I’m pretty proud of the way my kids are supporting me in this.

Lauer also asked her about the speculation that despite her 30 years of experience at the company, she may have gotten the job because of the desire to have a maternal figure guide the company through a rocky time.

LAUER: I want to tread lightly here. You’ve heard this, you heard it in Congress. You got this job because you’re hugely qualified, 30 years in this company a variety of different jobs. But some people are speculating that you also got this job because as a woman and as a mom because people within General Motors knew this company was in for a very tough time and as a woman and a mom you could present a softer image and softer face for this company as it goes through this horrible episode. Does it make sense or does it make you bristle?

BARRA: Well it’s absolutely not true. I believe I was selected for this job based on my qualifications. We dealt with this issue — when the senior leadership of this company knew about this issue, we dealt with this issue.

This interrogation comes just a few months after Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told Barra during her Senate questioning that “woman to woman, I’m disappointed.”

How’s this for a question: Can Matt Lauer be a good dad and host the Today Show? Let’s discuss.

TIME Congress

Charlie Rangel’s Famous Friends Are Happy He’s Still in Congress

A fixture in New York's social and political scenes, Rangel is slated to add two more years to his 44-year stint in Congress after a tight race against state Sen. Adriano Espaillat

TIME Congress

Senators Call on Men to Speak Up to End Violence Against Women

Senators sat down Tuesday to talk about how to reduce violence and discrimination against women around the world and whether to make those solutions a U.S. diplomatic priority.

A small refugee camp lies in the Democratic Republic of Congo next to a national park. Each day, the women of the community must venture into the forest to gather firewood to cook and to heat their homes. On an average day, ten of the women who go into the forest are raped. The women are faced with a bleak choice: their own safety or a resource necessary for survival.

This story, shared by Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan was amongst the dozens of tales told at Tuesday’s Senate Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women’s Issues hearing on combating violence and discrimination against women. The hearing came as a push to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, which would make the reduction of violence against women a diplomatic priority for the U.S.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California underlined the importance of spreading the ethos that violence against women was not the behavior of a “real man.” She suggested using famous athletes and other popular role models as the faces of an effort to get more men to speak up. “Women can’t do this alone,” Boxer said. “This is a partnership.”

The bill has been introduced four times since 2007, but, despite bipartisan support, it has not had enough Republican support to pass. Although the legislation has yet to be discussed outside of the subcommittee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said that he plans to bring the issue to the attention of the full committee. “I struggle to understand why the United States has failed to pass the convention, but I understand politics,” said Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. “We need to acknowledge our responsibility and our leadership on issues.”

Panelist Gary Barker, International Director of Promundo, an international group that works to engage men to promote gender equality, discussed the importance of men who witnessed violence against women speaking up, as one of the many potential solutions. He cited a study that revealed that men who use violence likely saw their father being violent toward their mother or experienced violence themselves. The perpetrators believed that two-thirds of the men around them thought that this violence was acceptable. “Something is really engrained in silence of other men and how systems don’t react to it,” Barker said.

Because there is not enough prison space to imprison every man who has committed an act of violence, Barker said, it is necessary to think about prevention.

TIME Congress

Democrats Prod GOP on Change to Voting Rights Law

A push to respond to a Supreme Court ruling

Congress finally debated an amendment to the Voting Rights Act on Wednesday, six months after it was introduced and exactly one year after the Supreme Court knocked down a key provision of the landmark civil rights law.

“I was hopeful that Senate Republicans would join me in supporting this important bill,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, said during a committee hearing Wednesday. “Despite repeated efforts, I am troubled to report that as of this hearing, not a single Senate Republican has stepped up to the plate.”

The Voting Rights Act Amendment of 2014 was introduced in response to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision striking down a section of the VRA that required certain states and localities to get permission from the Department of Justice before changing voting rules because of their history of voter discrimination. While the landmark law had been renewed with bipartisan support for years, Democrats are struggling to bring Republicans on board to give the law new strength after the Supreme Court ruling—something that became abundantly clear minutes into Wednesday’s hearing.

While Leahy recalled how he felt when the Supreme Court “gutted” the Voting Rights Act, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the committee’s ranking GOP member, said the court’s decision was justified.

“All it did,” Grassley said Wednesday, “was strike down a formula, some 50 years old.”

Grassley, and other Republicans on the committee noted that other sections of the Voting Rights Act still stand and are currently being enforced in several states—including in Texas, where the Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the state under Section 2, which bans voting practices that impact people based on their race, color, or language.

Senators from southern states mocked the idea of continuing to require some states to get permission from the Justice Department, known as “pre-clearance,” just because of voting discrimination that took place in the past.

“What justifies singling out a select number of states for some sort of special treatment?” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked, noting that in his home state, black voter turnout was higher than white turnout during the 2012 election. Cruz said the turnout was proof that Texas, along with many other southern states with a history of racial discrimination, has evolved.

But Democrats say discrimination still exists and that voters still need the protection provided by the pre-clearance provision, known as Section 5. Ten of the 15 states that were covered by the now-defunct section have introduced restrictive voting legislation since the ruling, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. Some states moved to put previously rejected laws in place shortly after the Supreme Court decision.

Under the proposed Voting Rights Amendment Act, any state that has committed five or more voting violations in the past 15 years would be subject to pre-clearance. Texas and Louisiana are among the states that would be subjected to pre-clearance if the bill passed in its current form.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, sought to drive home the fact that under the bill any state—from Vermont to California—could be subject to pre-clearance. She said 2012 minority voter turnout should push Congress to act, not convince members that America has overcome its troubled racial history.

“It shows the determination of minority voters to turn out and participate despite the obstacles,” Ifill said. “It should inspire Congress to pass this bill.”

Despite Wednesday’s hearing, the fate of the legislation is bleak. No Republican Senators have signed on to sponsor the bill. But civil rights organizations have not lost hope. And Democrats in the House and Senate plan to continue pressuring their Republican colleagues on the issue.

“I don’t understand the difference today other than partisan politics rearing its head,” Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who attended the Senate hearing, told TIME. “I think we should follow in tradition of our predecessors, Republicans and Democrats, and pass this legislation that speaks to right of people to vote.”

TIME Congress

House Republicans to Sue Obama

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on June 19, 2014 Kevin Dietsch—UPI/Landov

Objections to the Administration's executive actions

The House of Representatives will sue President Barack Obama for not “faithfully executing” the law, Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday, though he declined to say which of Obama’s actions the House will challenge in court.

“What we’ve seen certainly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch,” Boehner said. “I believe the President is not faithfully executing the laws of the country and on behalf of the institution and our constitution, standing up and fighting for this is in the best long-term interest of the Congress.”

While Boehner has yet to announce the details of the forthcoming lawsuit, House Republicans have strongly opposed numerous unilateral decisions made by the Obama Administration, including halting deportations of immigrants who were brought to the country as children, postponing provisions of the Affordable Care Act and raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. In a letter to House members Wednesday, Boehner said he intends to bring legislation to the floor in July to “compel” Obama to follow his oath of office

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest didn’t say whether Obama and Boehner had discussed the lawsuit when the Speaker was at the White House Tuesday, and he criticized House Republicans for taking their opposition of the President into “a gear that I didn’t know previously existed.”

“The fact that they are considering a taxpayer funded lawsuit against the President of the United States for doing his job, I think, is the kind of step that most Americans wouldn’t support,” Earnest said. “This lawsuit is certainly not something that is going to consume the attention of the White House.”

Boehner could summon the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to decide on whether or not to sue the President on behalf of the House, according to Roll Call, which first reported on the lawsuit. The panel consists of the top three House Republican leaders, including the Speaker, and the top two Democratic leaders. The group acts on a majority vote. Boehner last convened the panel in 2011 when the White House said it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that the Republicans wasted $2.3 million in taxpayer money defending the law.

“I make of it as subterfuge,” Pelosi said of the new House Republican plan to sue Obama. “As I’ve said they are doing nothing here and so they have to give some aura of activity.

“He hasn’t come anywhere near what Republican presidents have done on executive orders,” Pelosi added.

“Not only does the President regularly ignore the law, he brags about it,” Boehner said. “And he brags about his willingness to change it unilaterally. First the Administration makes the wrong decisions. Then it won’t give the American people the straight answers. Instead it’s arrogance and incompetence right down the line. I think Americans deserve better. And the House will continue to listen to the American people and make their priorities our priorities.”

-Additional reporting by Zeke J Miller

TIME China

Street Fight: Congress Votes to Rename Road by Chinese Embassy After Jailed Dissident

A picture of 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo is seen at an exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo in 2010.
A picture of 2010 Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo is seen at an exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo in 2010. Berit Roald—Scanpix Norway/Reuters

Beijing is not amused by the “provocative action,” as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo “has been convicted in accordance with the law”

Alert the post office. The official address for the Chinese embassy in Washington may well be changed to 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza. On June 24, the House Appropriations Committee voted to rename 3505 International Place, a strip of asphalt that runs in front of the Chinese mission in northwest D.C., after the jailed Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

In 2009, the veteran activist and writer was sentenced to 11 years in prison for inciting subversion against the Chinese state. Liu, 58, helped draft Charter 08, a pro-democracy petition that called on Beijing to abandon one-party rule and uphold basic human rights. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing labeled the road-renaming movement a “provocative action,” noting that Liu “has been convicted in accordance with the law.”

The bid for the new Chinese embassy mailing address was tacked on as an amendment to the 2015 State Department spending bill. The road in front of the Chinese embassy is federally owned, giving Congress some latitude in deciding its fate. (The D.C. Council will also consider the resolution.) Fourteen bipartisan Congressmen, led by Virginia Republican Frank Wolf, shepherded the provision, which calls for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to institute the name change. A street sign adorned with Liu’s name is planned.

This wasn’t the first time that Congress has used street signs to make a political point. In 1984, the stretch of road in front of the Soviet embassy was renamed after dissident Andrei Sakharov. A few years later, New York City managed to christen a street corner near the then Apartheid-era South African consulate after Nelson and Winnie Mandela.

Liu has served various stints in jail and labor camps or under house arrest. He was locked up for his role in the 1989 pro-democracy protests, which were brutally crushed by the military on the evening of June 3 into June 4 and beyond. This spring, in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, the Chinese government detained dozens of activists, lawyers, writers and others who dared to question the Communist Party’s hold on power. Since Liu was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, his wife, Liu Xia, has been kept under virtual house arrest, even though she has never been accused of any crime. It is the worst season for Chinese rights defenders in years.

The naming of 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza was spurred on by Dissident Squared, an advocacy project that describes as its mission “to rename streets fronting the embassies of closed societies — Iran, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Syria — for imprisoned or murdered dissidents.” In 1981, Anatoly Sharansky, then a Soviet refusenik languishing in a Siberian gulag, had a set of steps near the U.N. in New York named after him. Fast-forward to this past January when Sharansky, now an Israeli politician with the Hebrew given name of Natan, went before Congress to call for the jailed Chinese dissident to be similarly honored. The path from the Sharansky Steps to Liu Xiaobo Plaza runs an unlikely route.

TIME Race

Lawmakers Honor Martin Luther King Jr. to Commemorate Civil Rights Act Anniversary

John Lewis
Democratic Representative John Lewis of Georgia stands in front of a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. as he speaks during the 50th anniversary ceremony for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2014 Susan Walsh—AP

Nearly 50 years ago, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, marking a major step toward ending legal discrimination based on race in America

Martin Luther King Jr. received a posthumous award from Congress on Tuesday as lawmakers gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The slain civil rights leader and his wife Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006, were given the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony to honor the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Lyndon Johnson signed the act on July 2, 1964.

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 while in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers.

The deceased couple’s children, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King and Bernice A. King, said in a statement that the family is honored their parents are being recognized for their “tireless and sacrificial leadership to advance freedom and justice,” the Associated Press reports.

Watch TIME’s One Dream video about Martin Luther King Jr. here:

[AP]

TIME Congress

GOP Leaders Yield to Base on Killing Obscure Government Bank

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on June 19, 2014 Kevin Dietsch—UPI/Landov

A victory for conservatives

House Speaker John Boehner signaled Tuesday that he’s willing to let lawmakers kill an obscure government bank, in a victory for conservatives who feared that last week’s election of new GOP leadership would make it harder to eliminate.

“My job is to work with our members to get to a place where the members are comfortable,” Boehner, speaking at a news conference in Washington, said of the debate over Export-Import bank. “Some people believe that we shouldn’t have it at all, others believe that we should reauthorize it with significant reforms, and we’re going to work our way through this.”

The bank, supported by the White House, the Democratic-controlled Senate, the business community and at least 41 House Republicans, provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to help foreigners purchase U.S. goods. Its supporters credit it with supporting about205,000 American jobs, while opponents say it could easily be replaced by the private sector. Congress must renew the Ex-Im bank’s charter by Sept. 30 or it will be unable to back new loans.

When asked if he believes the so-called the Ex-Im bank has an impact on the economy, Boehner responded: “I don’t know.”

Tuesday’s comments mark a turn around for Boehner, who said the bank “will help create jobs in our country” when its charter was reauthorized two years ago. But on Tuesday, Boehner yielded authority on the issue to the House Financial Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, an outspoken critic of the Ex-Im Bank. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who chaired the committee through 2012, supported the bank, albeit with some reforms.

Boehner’s acquiescence will be taken as a welcome sign for his conservative rank-and-file, who feared the election last week of establishment-friendly Rep. Kevin McCarthy as the new House Majority Leader would block them from what’s become a top policy priority. But McCarthy said Sunday that he opposes reauthorizing the bank’s charter, and Boehner said Tuesday that Hensarling would have a key role in “outlining” the future of the bank.

“The members have been discussing this issue,” Boehner said. “I believe there’s a hearing tomorrow in the Financial Services committee. And after that, I’m looking forward to the chairman outlining how we’re going to deal with this rather controversial subject.”

Despite GOP leaders’ recent statements, the bank’s charter could still be renewed if coalition of House Democrats and Republicans pass the Senate’s end-of-year spending resolution, which will include reauthorization.

TIME Congress

America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Frank Lloyd Wright's Spring House in Tallahassee, Fla. Alan C. Spector

Since its inception 27 years ago, the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Places has saved more than 250 places.

This year’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places spans locations from New Jersey to Hawaii and includes everything from a medical care home for veterans to a Frank Lloyd Wright creation.

The list, released annually by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, features an array of places of cultural or architectural importance that are deteriorating or are at risk of destruction. Since its inception 27 years ago, the list and the awareness it generates have helped to save more than 250 endangered places.

But this year, the list has made an addition that’s not a place – the Federal Historic Tax Credit, which has been placed on ‘watch status.’ Some members of Congress are calling for the elimination of the Federal Historic Tax Credit as part of recent tax reform efforts, estimating that the provision could increase federal revenues by $10.5 billion between 2014 and 2023. The National Trust reports that the tax credit has created more than 2.4 million local jobs, leveraged nearly $109 billion in private investment for communities, and preserved more than 39,600 buildings, since it was signed into law in 1986.

Here are the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s selections for 2014.

 

1. Battle Mountain Sanitarium –Hot Springs, S.D.

Battle Mountain Sanitarium VA Medical Center Campus, Hot Springs, SD, Buddenborg 6.110104_mr
Buddenborg

For over a century, the sanitarium offered medical care to the region’s veterans. It has been claimed as one of the few National Historic Landmarks owned by the Department of Veterans Affairs, but they are currently moving forward with plans to abandon the building.

 

 

2. Bay Harbor’s East Island – Miami-Dade County, Fla.

BayHarborIsland-1_crMiami-DadeCountyOfficeofHistoricPreservation_mr
Dade County Office of Historic Preservation

Development proposals have put a collection of buildings constructed in the unique Modern Miami Architectural style at risk for demolition.

 

 

3. Chattanooga State Office Building – Chattanooga, Tenn.

ChattanoogaStateOffice5_mr
Chattanooga State Office

A change in ownership put this Chattanooga downtown landmark under the threat of demolition.

 

 

4. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House – Tallahassee, Fla.

FLW_SpringHouse_86a_crAlanC.Spector_mr
Alan C. Spector

Constructed in 1954, the Spring House is the only built private Frank Lloyd residence in Florida and one of the few of the architect’s houses that remain. However, weather and time have led to severe deterioration.

 

 

5. Historic Wintersburg – Huntington Beach, Calif.

HistoricWintersburg_rear of 1910 Mission and 1910 manse_crChrisJepsen_OrangeCountyArchives_mr
Chris Jepsen, Orange County Archives

This property that part of the story of Japanese American immigrants in Southern California and is currently threatened with demolition.

 

 

6. Mokuaikaua Church – Kailua Village, Kona, Hawaii

MokuaikauaChurch_3469589800_0208e7d390_SteveConger_mr
Steve Conger

Earthquake damage and the ravages of time have deteriorated Hawaii’s first Christian Church, built in 1837.

 

 

7. Music Hall – Cincinnati, Ohio

CincinnatiMusicHall_SpringerAuditorium_crCincinnatiSymphonyOrchestra_mr
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Since its construction in 1878, the Music Hall has played a key role in Cincinnati culture. Despite its National Historic Landmark status, the music hall has suffered significant deterioration and is in need of repair.

 

 

8. The Palisades – Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Palisades_3021510249_crPaulWRomaine_mr
Paul W. Romaine

Despite the designation of the cliffs along the Hudson River as a National Historic Landmark, the LG Corporation plans to build an office tower in the scenic landscape.

 

 

9. Palladium Building – St. Louis, Mo.

ThePalladium_6516788587_c400d44c65_crMichael Allen_mr
Michael Allen

The Palladium Building was once home of a 1940s nightclub that contributed to the development of African American music. However, lack of protection from local and national historic designations has left the building’s future uncertain.

 

 

10. Shockoe Bottom – Richmond, Va.

ShockoeBottom_7736982152_a41e5437fa_crTVNEWSBADGE_mr
TV News Badge

The potential development of a minor league baseball stadium threatens the home of Solomon Northrup’s jail in 12 Years a Slave. Shockoe Bottom was a center of the American slave trade and still holds many underground artifacts.

 

 

11. Union Terminal – Cincinnati, Ohio

UnionTerminal_1_crCincinnatiMuseumCenter_mr
Cincinnati Museum Center

The Cincinnati icon, built in the Art Deco style, is currently in need of extensive repairs to salvage it from its deteriorated state.

 

 

 

TIME Congress

House Majority Leader-Elect Puts Export-Import Bank In Jeopardy

Kevin McCarthy
Newly elected House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., arrives for GOP leadership elections, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 19, 2014. J. Scott Applewhite—AP

One of the first major acts of new House Majority Leader-elect Kevin McCarthy could very well be to kill the eight-decades-old Export-Import bank, which provides loans, loan guarantees and credit insurance to help foreigners purchase U.S. goods.

Congress must renew the Ex-Im bank’s charter by Sept. 30 or it will be unable to back new loans. And despite support from a large part of the business community, the White House and the Democratically-controlled Senate, its fate now hangs in the balance because no one in House Republican leadership actively, publicly supports it.

McCarthy told Fox News Sunday that he opposed reauthorizing the export credit agency’s charter because he felt the private sector could take care of it. This stance is a reversal of his position just two years ago. New House Whip Steve Scalise, of Louisiana, also opposes reauthorization.

A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner told reporters Monday that the Financial Services Committee, chaired by Ex-Im bank opponent Jeb Hensarling, will lead a discussion on how to handle the issue as the deadline to act looms.

In expressing his opposition, the Majority Leader-elect shores up support on his right and takes away a chief talking-point from Hensarling, a potential conservative rival for McCarthy if both decide to vie for Speaker when Boehner steps down. Boehner, 64, has declined to promise another two years as Speaker.

“McCarthy made it clear last week to members [that] he believes that products that come to the floor should proceed through regular order,” a McCarthy aide told TIME. “That means through the appropriate committee of jurisdiction.” If the Financial Services Committee doesn’t act, in other words, no more Ex-Im Bank.

That’s bad news for many in the business community. In a conference call with reporters Monday, the heads of the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers said they have engaged in a “full court press” on Congress, assembling a “dream team” of influential lobbyists that includes former Democratic House Leader Dick Gephardt, former Republican governor Haley Barbour and Tony Fratto, former spokesman for President George W. Bush.

They have also organized letters to be sent to Congress Monday from 865 organizations, urging support and reminding elected officials that the Ex-Im bank has supported $37 billion in exports, more than 200,000 jobs and 3,400 companies. There are at least 59 other countries that have created government export credit agencies.

McCarthy’s predecessor, Eric Cantor, struck a deal in 2012 with Democrats to renew the charter, a move which received broad bipartisan support.

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said as long as the reauthorization “gets to the floor, I’m very confident that it will get through the Congress.”

“Leader McCarthy is a very thoughtful member of Congress and he is somebody that considers all of the ramifications, pro and con,” Timmons said. “I’m quite sure that he and the majority of his caucus don’t want to see American jobs lost to our competitors because we closed the one source of financing for a lot of small and medium size businesses.”

The difficulty, of course, is getting the vote to the floor when the man in charge of getting it there, McCarthy, is opposed to reauthorizing the charter. Another problem is that Ex-Im is not a well-known government entity and the Chamber of Commerce has not decided that the issue is important enough to be a deciding factor in future fundraising and support.

“Right now, we’re not a single-issue organization,” Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said. “It is important for us to convey to the members of the Congress the issues that are very important to our members… and to take measure all the time of those that are supportive of the businesses that we represent and those that aren’t. But I don’t see this as a single-issue thing that is going to decide where we are and where we’re not in the political process.”

For those Republican congressmen that do support the charter’s reauthorization, McCarthy’s comments Sunday marked a troubling turn of events. “It surprised me a little bit,” said Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), calling them a “concern.” Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), who supports the bank so long as other countries retain similar agencies, referred to the Ex-Im bank in terms bringing to mind The Princess Bride‘s Miracle Max.

“It may or not be breathing,” said Stivers (R-Ohio). “[It’s] not completely dead.”

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