Hensarling: Ex-Im a ‘fund for corporate welfare’

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) chastised President Obama on Saturday for pushing an extension of the Export-Import Bank.

In his weekly address, Obama said lawmakers should extend the Export-Import Bank, which provides financing for projects designed to increase U.S. exports, when they return to Washington because it “helps many American entrepreneurs take that next step and take their small business global.” 

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However, Hensarling said Saturday that Obama was not always in favor of the Ex-Im Bank  

“President Obama was right in 2008 when he called the Export-Import Bank ‘little more than a fund for corporate welfare’ and wrong today when he cheerleads for its renewal,” he said. 

“We need to level the playing field so American manufacturers and small businesses can compete,” Hensarling continued. “But Ex-Im doesn’t level the playing field; Ex-Im rigs it in favor of few powerful Fortune 500 corporations that are the overwhelming beneficiaries of Ex-Im. Washington shouldn’t pick winners and losers, and hardworking American taxpayers — who are already under tremendous stress — shouldn’t be forced to pay for foreign corporate welfare that advantages a handful of powerful, politically-connected corporations.”

The Ex-Im Bank is currently scheduled to shut down on Sept. 30, unless Congress acts to prevent it. 

Republicans have been divided over whether the Ex-Im Bank should be renewed. Some conservatives have argued the bank is a form of corporate welfare, but Democrats have said the program is needed to keep the United States economically competitive with countries that heavily subsidize industries.

Hensarling strongly disagreed with that assessment.

“Because over 98 percent of all U.S. exports are funded without Ex-Im, no one can make a credible case that Ex-Im’s continuation is critical to our economy,” he said.

“What would really help American manufacturers and small businesses compete on a level playing field are pro-growth tax, energy, regulatory and liability policies that the House has already passed but are being blocked by Democrats in the Senate,” Hensarling continued.