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Key Vote

Key Vote NO on Nominees to the Export-Import Bank

On behalf of our activist community, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote NO on the nominations of Kimberly Reed to serve as President of the Export-Import Bank and Judith Pryor and Spencer Bauchus to serve as members of the Board of Directors to the Export-Import Bank. The Export-Import Bank has operated without a quorum since July 2015. That should not change. The Export-Import Bank has been the face of cronyism, and, with a reauthorization deadline looming, conservatives and libertarians must push back against congressional attempts to reestablish a quorum and reauthorize the Bank.

Established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934, the Export-Import Bank purports to aid businesses by supplying credit to gain access to overseas markets. The Export-Import Bank, however, became an enabler of rent-seeking behavior by big businesses such as Boeing, Caterpillar, and General Electric. In fact, Boeing was such a frequent recipient of the Export-Import Bank’s loan guarantees and subsidies that it became known as “Boeing’s Bank.” According to the Mercatus Center, “From FY 2007 through FY 2014...Boeing received 70 percent of all loan guarantees and 35 percent of all aid provided by the Ex-Im Bank.”

The Export-Import Bank and its brand of cronyism and corporate welfare have long been a target for conservatives. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan noted that “the primary beneficiaries of taxpayer funds [from the Export-Import Bank] are the exporting companies themselves — most of them profitable corporations.”

In 1985, President Reagan gave an ominous warning about the Export-Import Bank in the bigger picture of restraining government spending “Supporters of programs like these always ignore the big hidden costs all of us eventually have to pay,” he said. “If programs like these can’t be cut, we might as well give up hope of ever getting government spending under control.”

Apologists for the Export-Import Bank say that the quorum needs to be reestablished so it may begin doling out government-backed loans in excess of $10 million. Why? Boeing, the biggest recipient of loan guarantees and subsidies from the Bank, has found financing in the private market, as well as record sales. Caterpillar also did well in 2018, boasting a 20 percent increase in sales and revenues. Although the economic slowdown in China may impact its bottom line in 2019, Caterpillar had a record profit share in the first quarter of 2019.

Not only does the Export-Import Bank subsidize domestic businesses, but it also has subsidized foreign, state-owned companies as well. “The top foreign beneficiaries of Ex-Im were a Who's Who list of giant and often state-owned companies. They include Emirates airline, Ryanair, and China Air,” Veronique de Rugy wrote at Reason in September 2018. “But none benefited more than PEMEX, the Mexican state-owned oil and gas firm. Between 2007 and 2014, it received a total of $7 billion on loan from Ex-Im.” Rather than feeding the lobbyists on K Street by reestablishing a quorum on the Board of Directors for the Export-Import Bank, the Senate should do what it does best — absolutely nothing.

FreedomWorks will count the votes on the nominations of Judith Pryor, Spencer Bachus, and Kimberly Reed when calculating our Scorecard for 2019 and reserves the right to weight any votes. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.

Sincerely,

Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks