Business groups counting on Republican gains in Congress to deliver their legislative agenda are voicing frustration over obstacles within a party usually allied with their interests.
At least two measures are hitting snags -- long-term highway construction funding and authority to keep the Export-Import Bank in business beyond May 31. Many of the Republicans elected in 2010 lean too heavily toward the demands of the Tea Party and other anti-spending groups, business leaders say.
A stymied debate on the highway-funding and Export-Import Bank bills is replaying a scenario familiar in Washington: carrying government operations important to companies close to a shutdown. Businesses, including Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc., count on the bank to provide loans, loan guarantees and insurance to foreign companies to buy U.S.-made products. Companies like Clark Construction Group LLC seek to win contracts underwritten by highway funds.
“Ex-Im is the only tool manufacturers have to offset the financing support our competitors receive from their governments,” they wrote. “The ability of U.S. companies to maximize their exports is more important than ever.”
The group is working to defeat House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, and Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It says they don’t do enough to curb the size of government.