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Cronyist Lawmakers Move to Revive the Ex-Im Bank

This July, an 80-year-old corporate welfare program known as the U.S. Export-Import Bank was allowed to expire for the first time since its inception. Created by FDR as part of his New Deal, the bank offers taxpayer-backed loan guarantees to companies unable to secure independent financing - in other words, loans too risky for private investors to be willing to finance.

It’s a ridiculous and obsolete program, and while its cost is small in the grand scheme of government spending - $2 billion over years - the difficulty with which it was finally defunded shows the extreme disproportionate influence of special interests in Washington. When conservatives finally succeeded in stopping the Bank’s funding, it was regarded as a huge victory for the opponents of corporate cronyism, proof of the concept that we can stop, or at least roll back, the leviathan if we could only muster the political will.

It is a victory that has proven to be short-lived, however. A bill to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank had been languishing in committee, when a group of Democrats and Republicans, made crazy by the thought of not being able to provide taxpayer handouts to the giant companies in their districts, filed a discharge petition to force the bill onto the House floor for a vote. Such petitions usually fail, since they require a majority of the Congress to sign on, agreeing to circumvent the process by which bills usually arrive at the floor. This time was different. Such is the desire by politicians to feed their corporate masters at our expense, that the petition garnered the necessary signatures and the bill will soon enjoy a floor vote, where it is all but certain to pass.

With the looming departure of John Boehner, who has always supported the Ex-Im Bank, the Congress is trying to get all its establishment dirty laundry out of the way in a hurry, for fear that someone with actual principles might step up to take the outgoing Speaker’s place. It’s disgusting that Republicans would so blatantly ignore the message sent by voters, and use procedural tricks - akin to the blackest variety of necromancy - to bring this entirely corrupt program back from the dead.

It’s cynical in the extreme for politicians to try to sneak this corporate handout past the voters, and anyone who supports the reauthorization should be ashamed of themselves. FreedomWorks has preemptively issued a Key Vote NO on any bill to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, and will count those votes on our legislative scorecard.

3 comments
charles.sifers's picture
charles.sifers
10/11/2015

I don't think that you're giving the full picture here. Companies like Caterpillar are laying of thousands due to the closure of the EX-IM Bank. If countries can't get financing here, they simply buy from a company in another country that will give them financing.
This is a truly stupid move with today's world economy.

yearnd's picture
yearnd
10/14/2015

GE has also issued well publicized closures and layoffs. In their press releases related to the layoffs they site directly that the end of the IM-EX bank as the direct reason for their actions. I am glad to see that the corporations are so willing to expose that their main driver is cutting every possible American worker from the payroll. The concept and duty to be a "responsible" corporate citizen no longer extends to the very employees and communities that have provided labor and infrastructure, and in some cases Tax incentives in order to attract the payroll that they are now under threat to lose.
I say let them go and start a boycott. or a more powerful labor union. Also there should be some kind of means testing put in place for permission to bid federal contracts. The well timed effort on the part of GEs PR department is a plain old blackmail effort and I for one say that they can kiss my black ass.

JCMorning's picture
JCMorning
10/11/2015

Congress is full of Professional Politicians who have gotten rich and powerful on the backs of the American People. It is no surprise to me that John Mica of Florida's 7th District not only supports this Taxpayer Funded give away to Mega-Corporations, but is a Co-Sponsor! Mica has made millions for himself and his family by using taxpayer funded projects and kickbacks. His main donors are from people and organizations which he directly aids through his position on committees and his office. The people of Florida deserve better. Support his opponent. www.morningforflorida.com

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