WASHINGTON, D.C. – Wouldn’t it be nice if the federal government maintained a special bank for the sole purpose of making sure your overseas customers could afford your product? Boeing does; it’s called the Export/Import Bank and, after serving its original purpose to help finance allied purchases of war materials during the World War, it morphed into a peace time paragon of cronyism.
Conservatives have been taking aim at the Ex/Im Bank for years, arguing that the federal government has no business offering special banking assistance to private companies with taxpayer funds. The Swamp, though, has been loath to upset this gravy train. Each time conservatives nudge it toward the chopping block, the Establishment whisks it away for protection.
Now a couple of our very own, Sen. Thom Tillis and Rep. Patrick McHenry, are holding hands with the likes of Maxine Waters to reauthorize the crony bank for another 10 years and hundred of billions of taxpayer dollars.
“SENATORS TRY FOR EX-IM BANK RENEWAL: Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are offering the Senate’s first major proposal for reauthorizing the trade finance agency before its charter expires in September, Pro Financial Services’ Zach Warmbrodt reports.
The effort comes after House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) shelved bipartisan legislation she worked on with ranking member Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to reauthorize and revamp the bank, which provides loan guarantees to foreign buyers of U.S. goods. That bill sparked political backlash over proposed restrictions on sales to Chinese state-owned firms.
Good news for Ex-Im backers? Cramer and Sinema’s bill could be more amenable as it’s narrower in focus. The bill would give the bank a 10-year extension and raise the bank’s financial exposure cap to $175 billion over seven years. It would also create a temporary board to lead the agency if the Senate refuses to confirm board members necessary to approve large transactions.
Who’s backing it: Thom Tillis (R-N.C.); Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.); Patty Murray (D-Wash.); and Lindsey Graham (R-N.C.) are co-sponsors. Cramer, Sinema and Tillis are all members of the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over Ex-Im.”
Over much of the last four years, the crony bank was unable to approve deals with more than $10 million. Did the world stop spinning? Not at all. That restriction was recently lifted, and now there are potent forces with a special interest in revitalizing the bank and extending the charter. The companies that benefit from the crony bank, dominated by Boeing to finance foreign purchases of its planes, surely grease the palms of politicians that can keep the cronyism going. Tillis and McHenry are the kind to move when the special interests ask them to.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration has also been pushing to reauthorize the crony bank, thinking it gives the U.S. parity with China and its state-backed financing structures. However, while we want an even playing field with China, trying to match their level of cronyism is not the way to do it. A crony operation like the Ex-Im Bank IS NOT THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT.
Conservatives understand this, and hopefully Republicans at large will live up to the constitutional rhetoric they offer on the campaign trail and kill this bill, and the corny bank, for good.